We are all born into a world full of possibility. Though we may never know if we “chose” this life, the fact is, we’re all here, and every one of us must go through life’s challenges.
Along our paths we come across many obstacles, and while most of these are but simple challenges that we must face, figure out, and move on from, some of these challenges are much more difficult to cope with than others.
One of the most trying challenges comes in the form of abuse. You might be surprised to learn that one in six Americans suffers from some form of abuse or will suffer one or more forms in their lifetime. Though this is unfortunate and saddens the hearts of most Americans, it is an awful fact of life.
Here, we’ll explore a few of the most common forms of abuse that can affect your well-being.
Domestic abuse needs no introduction, and often comes in the physical form. It is estimated that close to 20 percent of women are domestically abused. When compared to just 1.7 percent of men, this is a striking statistic to swallow.
Domestic abuse often begins verbally, but typically escalates into physical altercations. A husband may use his physical prowess to subdue a weaker female by towering, striking, or repeatedly verbally lashing out. Over time, this can become worse.
Signs of domestic abuse are commonly associated with withdrawn behavior, not spending time around friends or family, hiding the face or wearing covering clothing even in the summertime to mask the appearance of bruises.
This form of abuse, like all forms, can ultimately result in long-term mental health disorders.
Sexual abuse is by far one of the worst forms of abuse imaginable. This is what occurs when an individual makes unwanted sexual advances towards another person. Sexual abuse often comes in the form of rape, incest, statutory rape, or molestation.
Sexual abuse is also linked primarily to people with power, such as community elders, coaches, teachers, and even family members and members of a church. In fact, this type of abuse, by Jehovah’s Witnesses, has been at the center of many sexual abuse scandals throughout the country.
This form of horrific abuse is the most jarring for any individual and can result in a lifetime of mental health issues, particularly if the abuse occurred during childhood. Though there are several cases of adult sexual abuse, the primary victims tend to be children and teenagers.
One of the more subtle forms of mental abuse, and one of the hardest to recognize or prove, is that of gaslighting.
This is often the mark of a manipulative person or a classic narcissist. One who gaslights another can manipulate the perceived reality of an individual, so much so that they may end up questioning reality altogether.
Some scenarios of simple gaslighting are more evident, but still of the subtle variety. For example: “You didn’t see what you think you saw. You’re doing it again.” This is a simple statement that seems innocent enough, but the intent of this statement is to make another person think that he or she didn’t see what they thought they saw, even if the person is certain they did.
This is a tactic often used in order to manipulate a person as a means for a particular end. And, like all forms of abuse, this can have drastic mental health effects over time, even with its victims struggling with the ability to define reality.
Abuse in any form is an amoral act. It is taking a person’s autonomy away from them, through physical, mental, or verbal means. And, as many innocent people don’t know that they’re being abused at a young age, they end up taking the behavior as normal in many cases.
If you or anyone you know suffers from abuse, it’s time to get help. The sooner it can be stopped, the sooner you’ll be able to get back to living a normal life.