What is abuse?
Abuse is not the fault of the abused. It is the fault of the abuser.
We will briefly investigate some forms of abuse, and single months will be dedicated to different forms of abuse, as the subject is so incredibly complex. One step at a time. And we’ll be right there as we take the steps with you.
Do not be misled. Abuse is a deliberate choice by the abuser to control their victim. It does not flow from a loss of control. It has a pattern of ebb and flow, abuse and apology, brooding and violation. Abusers can control whom they abuse and when and where they choose to abuse them. They are able to stop themselves to avoid being punished for their abuse.
We have to understand that abuse is a misuse of trust for control. It takes many forms. They are not exclusive. A person may combine physical abuse with controls of money and internet access, for example.
In some instances abusive partners may use a variety of tactics to manipulate their victims. They may use dominating behavior, humiliation, isolation, threats, intimidation, and blame on their partners to help control their behavior and prevent them from communicating fully with other people. An intimate partner may use a pattern of abuse to maintain power and control over another partner. This is known as domestic violence.
It can occur in workplace and social settings, such as a school or a nursing home. For too many people, abuse outside of intimate relationships causes real trauma and sometimes physical injury.
and unfortunately one of the side effects of meeting an abusive individual is that they have no concern for the worth of other individuals and maltreat them to degrade their well being.
Some parents may harm their children because of stress, poor parenting skills, social isolation, and lack of available resources. They may emotionally abuse their children because the parents or caregivers were emotionally abused during their own childhood and are impaired themselves. Abuse can occur to anyone of any age and gender and from any background. Because of that we need to raise awareness, stand together and show that this kind of behavior is not tolerated and that it is never the victims fault.
We are to quick to say it could have never happened to me. That is wrong. It can happen to anyone!
This does not apply to me?
Some people are reading this hoping that we will define abuse so strictly that they can quit reading and say, “My partner’s behavior doesn’t fit the definition of abuse. I am not a victim.”
But there are many forms of controlling and disrespectful behavior. Physical violence—slapping, kicking, shoving, hitting, or the threat of these things – is one form of abuse. So is continually insulting or demeaning another person, using technology to keep track of another person’s whereabouts, sabotaging a person’s medications or birth control, draining a person’s financial resources, and any combination of these things demonstrates abuse.
Abuse is experienced within family, within social and within workplace settings. It does not require intimacy. It is the attempt by one person to control or dominate another.
What types of actions make up abuse?
- If you are not allowed to control your own eating or sleeping, or pressured to use drugs or alcohol, there is physical abuse.
- If you are subject to insults, threats, accusations, isolation or attempts to control appearance and or humiliation, there is emotional abuse.
- If you are forced or manipulated into sexual acts, ignored or infected with a sexually transmitted disease, there is sexual abuse.
- If you are not allowed to use the Internet freely, or are pressured to be constantly online and in contact with a partner, there is digital abuse.
- If you do not have total control over your financial assets, tax returns, bank accounts, loose cash, because a partner insists on using them despite your objections, there is financial abuse.
These are some of the forms of abuse that are visited upon victims by perpetrators who do not respect their victims and attempt to control them with misbehavior.
What are the outward signs of abuse?
Abuse within social, educational and workplace settings may occur in public. The repeated use of intimidation, harassment, belittling, humiliation and ridicule make up a pattern of abuse. Isolated incidents of disagreement and dispute may not qualify as a pattern of abuse, but again: the regular and consistent attempt by one person to control another through emotional or psychological abuse, and sometimes, especially at school, even physical abuse, is a real occurrence and should prompt intervention on behalf of the victim of abuse.
Abuse within a relationship is usually planned to occur in private. Abused persons may be prevented from communicating fully with persons outside the relationship. However, there are signs of abuse that can be observed from the outside:
People who are being abused may:
Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
Go along with everything their partner says and does
Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or posessiveness
Warning signs of physical violence:
People who are being physically abused may:
Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)
Warning signs of isolation:
People who are being isolated by their abuser may:
Be restricted from seeing family and friends
Rarely go out in public without their partner
Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car
The psychological warning signs of abuse:
People who are being abused may:
Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal
It is important to be aware of these signs in order to intervene on behalf of a person who is being abused. Intervention is vital because victims of abuse are often unwilling to admit there is a problem. It is not worth feeling secure in minding your own business to see a friend suffer and possibly be endangered.
What can I do about abuse?
Try to educate yourself on the topic, because understanding more will get a better understanding of yourself and what is happening inside of you. A lot of the aftermath abuse represents, may for someone not seem rational and there is sadly an problem that people that has suffered abuse blames themselves or uses their reaction as a manifestation of how broken they are are or “crazy” they are. When in reality we need to seek to understand that, a reaction to something as severe has living through abuse will give a lot of strong reactions. Because the impact of this or these incidents where exactly that something that made a strong impact. You don’t cover a broken leg with a band aid. You have to allow yourself to react and feel and when it hits you. Find that one thing that can help you surf the waves. Be patient. It might take time, But in the meantime know you’re walking towards a better life. Our blog will provide possible solutions to your recovery process.
Project Life Quality will explore resources available for survivors of abuse in depth in the months to come. You should feel able to reach out immediately to the following numbers:
- In the US: Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
- In Canada: Visit ShelterSafe to find the helpline of a women’s shelter near you.
- UK: Call Women’s Aid UK at 0808 2000 247.
- Ireland: Call Women’s Aid at 1800 341 900.
- Australia: Call 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732.
- Worldwide: visit International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a global list of helplines and crisis centers.
Help for men:
- In the US and Canada: Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
- UK: Call the ManKind Initiative at 01823 334244.
- Ireland: Call AMEN at 046 902 3710.
- Australia: One in Three Campaign
Christopher Andrew Balsz
~ PLQ Team Member ~