It was not the first time that Susan had blue marks on her body. This time it was on her leg and her lip was bleeding. She knew that she is not the one who is guilty, even though her dad calls her a lot of names when he is drunk. He also hits her mother and there is nothing she can do about it. He is always sorry when he has sober up. Maybe it is her fault that he gets so mad...
This is a scenario that can and does happen in many houses and the child or adult on the receiving side does not realize that this is not fine and it is ABUSE.
It is necessary that all people are aware of what abuse is and there are more than the type of abuse that leaves scars for everybody to see.
This is the most well-known type of abuse and it can be seen. There are different types on physical abuse like burning, shaking, kicking and hitting. The victim will usually end up with visible blue marks, scars or even broken bones.
Any sexual contact between an adult and a child under the age of 18 years of age is considered sexual abuse.
If one person overpowers another without their consent, it is considered sexual abuse. Incest is when a child is abused by a family member.
A lot of people will not come forward with this type of abuse because they can feel ashamed and maybe feel that they did something to provoke it.
Children will feel scared, especially if an adult tells them they will get in trouble if they tell the "secret"
This can be very difficult to identify because there are no scars on the outside. This does not mean if somebody cannot see a scar it is not abuse.
Emotional abuse is when people call you names or make you feel bad about yourself. Emotional abuse can go on and eventually will destroy your feeling of self-worth.
This occurs when children are not looked after or given food - it is also difficult to identify because it is not easy to see if a child is very skinny if they for instance wear big clothes. It is also neglect if a parent is not emotionally there for a child and breaks them down and do not give them any love.
Abuse is not something that just happens in families. It can take place in schools and at work. Bullying is also a form of abuse.
It happens a lot of times that people who are being abused also start abusing others, but this is not an excuse. You must try and escape this vicious circle if you are trapped in it. You will have to find help or be open and honest about how somebody is treating you.
If you are being abused, you must understand that this is not normal behaviour and not all families are like that. Each person has the right to be treated fairly and with dignity. Nobody has the right to make you feel bad about yourself or injure you in any way.
All families fight sometimes and are not happy with one another but this does not mean in ends in hitting and shouting and hurting one another.
Abuse can also take a form of hate crime where people have something against other races or religions.
Does abuse have an effect on the person being abused?
If somebody is stuck in any abusive situation, they can start believing that they deserve it or that is just the way life works. They will also distrust all people and feel that they are not good enough.
Anybody who is being abused will feel upset and hurt and confused and because they do not trust easily they will not come forward and talk about it and they will just be stuck in the abusive relationship.
Abusers are manipulative
Abusers will make sure that the person they abuse feels worthless and believe that it is their fault. They will also say things like It is our secret, if you tell it means you do not love me. Nobody will believe you etc.
People who are abused will have difficulty in getting help because they will feel that they will be reporting someone they love who is most of the time a good person or maybe let them end up in jail or in many situations the person cannot look after themselves financially and stays with the abuser.
What can I do if I am being abused
No matter what type of abuse are happening to you, NOTHING can justify it and you must get help as soon as possible to be removed from that situation.
If you are a child speak to an adult you can trust or you can phone the police or child services. If you are an adult you can also get help from a trusted friend or doctor or priest.