Summing up the various definitions of ‘abuse’ conjures up the same kinds of words: unjust, wrongful, harmful, improper, insulting, misuse, maltreatment, to deceive or trick… All of these words are appropriate when exploring just what kinds of abuse are out there.
No longer is abuse contained to the realm of physical violence; it expands into drug abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse.
Abuse counselling exists as a means to help people overcome whichever form of abuse they’re touched by. However, recognising the signs and understanding just how these various forms of abuse might manifest themselves is a topic that needs to be understood by counsellors themselves first before they are able to help.
The following is a small insight into several of the most common forms of abuse.
Any action by a person that causes physical harm unto another – such as cuts, bruises, burns, broken bones or other injuries – is classified as physical abuse.
The deviations of this kind of abuse you will be familiar with – like domestic abuse, child abuse. Incidents whereby anyone is hit, slapped, thrown, poisoned, burned, shaken violently, grabbed forcefully or kicked, could come under this remit.
People often turn to physical abuse because of heightened stress levels. Perhaps they’re not coping well at work? Perhaps they’re struggling with an addiction of some kind? Sometimes physical abuse occurs because people have had bad parenting themselves and are ill-equipped to deal with the emotional relationships they create – or lack – with others.
While the effects of visible abuse can be visible, the emotional symptoms sometimes aren’t. Those being physically abused can end up depressed, anxious, distant or withdrawn and may fail to socialise well. This is why it is important to stop abuse – particularly for those young of age, who can take develop mental illnesses and take them into later life.
Emotional abuse isn’t something that can be seen with the eyes, unlike physical abuse (in some cases). It might take the form of belittling someone, humiliating them, degrading them, failing to care for them – in the case of a child – ignoring them, or exposing them to distressing events.
Many, many different kinds of actions – such as those above – could have a negative impact on someone’s life; often resulting in exactly the same effects as someone who is physically abused. Triggers that prompt people to mentally abuse others can also be similar: perhaps inspired by their own upbringing, a lack of understanding for another’s emotions, or due to alcohol or drug abuse.
Those emotionally attacked can have a negative self image, have problems socialising, act rebellious, or isolated themselves from others. They can also become aggressive and violent themselves.
Sexual abuse occurs when one is forced into sexual acts, such as sex or other stimulation, by force of another person. Unwarranted touching, viewing of explicit material, rape, incest, sexual harassment, or abuse of trust/position can all be considered forms of sexual abuse.
The effects for anyone who experiences this kind of abuse of course is as harrowing as that as other abuse and counselling can be extremely helpful in helping to confront the issue. For children however, the effects can be long-lasting; perhaps provoking risky sexual behaviour from a young age or aggressive and anti-social behaviour.