Recognizing and Preventing Abuse.
Abuse is not the most obvious thing in the world to identify, even if it is
befalling you instantly. Not everyone who is being abused understands
that what they are experiencing is abuse. Some may recognize that
something isn’t right about how they are treated, but they may be
afraid to speak up and name it as abuse for fear of retribution from
their abuser. The following list describes various interactions that
people might have that are examples of abuse. If one or more of these
things is happening to you, there is a very good chance that you are
Being physically, sexually, or emotionally damaged or hurt by your companion on a constant basis.
Being called hurtful names and/or being put down by a partner on a regular basis.
Being controlled by a partner. For example, if your
companion tells you that you are not permitted to have friends, leave the place without his permission, or asks you that you are not permitted to
follow your own goals growth, such as going to school or looking for work.
Becoming more inward so that you do not spend
much time with different people who may find out the fact that you are being abused.
Searching for yourself giving excuses for a companion’s bad and destructive nature ( so that you won’t have to accept the
fact that you are being chronically abused).
Realizing that your companionship has a pattern
or works like a clock in which anything abusive happens, you tell your companion that you will not tolerate this behaviour anymore, but then forgiving your partner when he or she apologizes.
Punishing yourself for bad experiences you have had with your partner. For instance, telling yourself that you really are difficult to be normal with so it is fine even if you are hit.
Feeling insecure in your own home and being watchful when you know your companion is getting home.
If you are a third party witness to a seemingly abusive relation (suspected
child abuse, domestic abuse or elder abuse), it may be hard to understand if abuse is occurring in any direct manner. You may need to rely
on similar evidence to recognise the abuse. The remaining list suggests instances to look for what may be indicative of abuse.
There are notable indications of injury, such as bruises,
sores, hurts, cuts, or dark circles. Such injuries may be concealed (for instance behind sunglasses or with clothing)
The victim makes implausible excuses for injuries or absences (“I fell down the stairs”).
The victim displays personality changes (angry, depressed, moody, defensive, etc.)
The victim becomes withdrawn, or suddenly fearful.
The victim becomes depressed, or more irritable or agitated than normal.
The victim has difficulty sleeping at night or may display excessive tiredness (which can be a symptom of depression)
The victim’s appetite changes for better or worse. Weight loss or gain may occur (can be a symptom of depression).
The victim’s self-esteem lowers.
The victim is distracted and has difficulty concentrating.
The victim neglects hygiene (becomes smelly, goes
unwashed; maybe an attempt to ward off a sexual predator if a child,
or as a consequence of depression).
Changes are noted in the victim’s personal appearance or in the appearance of his or her home or living environment.
The victim complains of pain in the genital region (more common in children).
For older children and adults, the victim ‘acts out’, becoming sexually promiscuous, and/or using drugs.
Elders may display confusion
A great deal of abuse in life is unavoidable, and can only be escaped
once it has taken place. However, there are also some forms of abuse
that people get exposed to in their lives that can be avoided to some
extent if proper precautions are put in place early on.
If you are an adult:
You can take the time to learn what abuse is and
isn’t, so that you immediately recognize abuse if it occurs to you or
someone close to you.
If you have a tendency to be passive in
relationships with others, you can learn to be more assertive,
particularly in communicating your boundaries and what is acceptable
and not acceptable to you.
If you have a tendency to be very assertive with
others, you may want to consult with others you trust so as to make
sure you are not habitually and unconsciously cross over the line from
assertiveness into abuse. If you are told you tend to be aggressive
rather than assertive, you can learn how to become more assertive
rather than aggressive in your interactions.
If you are a parent, you should teach your child in age-appropriate ways:
To identify what abuse is and isn’t and how to avoid circumstances that might lead to abuse.
The difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching.
What their body parts are and how they are
appropriately named so that they can properly describe it if someone
touches them in an inappropriate place.
That someone might threaten them with violence
if they tell about inappropriate behaviour, but that they should always
That they are allowed to say “no” when someone
asks them for something they don’t want (being assertive), especially
with strangers. You should also watch your kids for signs that something has changed for the worse (behavioural, physical or personality changes that suggest something disturbing has occurred), and ask them direct questions if you suspect the worst.
Take the necessary steps to track abuse down and stop it from repeating immediately. Please strongly consider getting your children and perhaps your entire family involved in professional psychotherapy with a therapist specializing in the treatment of abuse if your children have been abused.
If you are dating:
Expect that you might be drugged if you are drinking, and take precautions. Never let your drink out of your sight. Use a Rohypnol test kit to test if your drink has been spiked.
Use the buddy system. Go out with friends and do not let each other out of your sight.
Be wary and do not take unnecessary and unintelligent risks (such as going home with strangers or meeting them in a non-public place)
Tell someone at home where you are going and when you will be back.
If you do choose to engage in sexual behaviour, be very clear and explicit with your partner about the level of sexual activity you are and are not willing to engage in.
Carry your own latex condoms if you intend to have sex with strangers (latex condoms protect against STDs where some others don’t) and insist that they be used.
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