Thursday, November 1, 2012

Abuse Awareness

Disclaimer: I do not claim that anything in this post is about me. I neither admit or deny that any of it applies to me. I am simply trying to give a broader picture of the subject for awareness purposes. So, please, do not twist what I am saying.

So, everyday I hear things like "so-and-so wasn't abused, I've never seen a bruise on him/her." You know what my reaction to you is: You're stupid. And guess what...if I actually tell you that, then I'm abusing you. That's right. Insults are a form of abuse.

See...the truth is that there are many forms of abuse. One being physical, one emotional/verbal. There are others but I want to focus on these two.

First of all, referring to the aforementioned quote, just because you don't see bruises on someone doesn't mean that they're not being abused. In fact, most abused women, choose NOT to show their bruises. In fact they tend to go to extremes to hide them. Usually because they're ashamed. And quite often because they're afraid. Most abused women go to extremes to keep people from knowing they're being physically abused. They make excuses for their partner, they lie for them, they cover any bruises, they stop hanging out with their friends. Why? Because they're afraid. They're afraid of what their abuser might do to them if he/she found out they'd told someone. Physical abuse, like emotional abuse, is very psychologically damaging. Women, in particular, often begin to believe that they deserve the abuse. The believe that without their abuser, they'll have no one. That they'll be completely helpless. This is so common that there's actually a psychological term called "learned helplessness" that applies to this. This has a lot to do with the woman's decision to stay with her abuser, but it also affects whether or not she lets people know that she's being abused.

There's also emotional/verbal abuse which is just as bad as physical abuse. Telling someone that they're stupid, fat, ugly, etc is a form of abuse and it has some nasty psychological side-effects. I know far too many women in a situation where their significant other constantly puts them down. I've heard them called bitches, sluts, whores, and worse. I've heard men say "You're not good enough. You'll never be good enough.", "If you leave me, no one will want you. You're disgusting. You're lucky I put up with you." If you're sitting there reading this and thinking "That's not that bad." then you desperately need your morals checked. Though verbal abuse isn't typically physically harmful (some cases it does ultimately lead to self harm) it's very psychologically damaging as I mentioned before. In my opinion, it can even be worse than physical abuse (assuming of course the person being abused is not killed in the process) because cuts and bruises fade, scars heal over time, but "mental scars", as I sometimes call them, sometimes last forever. I might also add here that in several cases verbal abuse eventually evolves into physical abuse. (I'll also add, before I forget, that yes, I realize that there are women who abuse others and sometimes men get abused too but men abusing women is more common which is my sole purpose for using it as an example).

Now, if someone hits you once, will they do it again? Not always but usually. They've already shown that they're capable of doing it. And by doing it, they've shown that the other person's safety is of no concern to them. If someone has a temper strong enough to cause them to physically hit someone, there will never be a guarantee that a person is safe from abuse in the future. Actually, a friend of mine explained it much better earlier today. I'm going to quote this anonymous person.
"If someone hits their partner, regardless of whether it's -only- once, they have shown that they are capable of doing it more often. For someone to lose their temper to the point where they physically lash out at another person, that puts the person at a high risk of being abused further, therefore meaning they are dangerous to that person. And if a person thinks that because they only hit someone once that it makes them less of a threat, then they have serious problems in recognising that their behaviour has consequences. Even considering hitting someone makes them dangerous in my opinion. It's sad that people seem to believe abuse doesn't count if someone was hit once. It's still abuse. It's still wrong."

There's a lot more that I could say but I'm going to end with this. Again, let me point out that I'm neither claiming nor denying that any of the above applies to my situation. I simply wanted to bring more awareness to the topic. And before you think that I have no idea what I'm talking about (because I know some of you will), might I just add that I am studying psychology and, though I'm no where near a professional and don't claim to be one, I have studied the topic of abuse rather thoroughly so I'd say I know quite a bit more than you think.

No comments: