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Sexual, Physical, Emotional, or Verbal Abuse: Are You A Victim?

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From bullying and manipulative mind games to sexual harassment and elder care neglect, sexual, physical, emotional, and verbal abuse is rampant in our society. No one is immune from these kinds of abusive people, but everyone can make healthy choices to end those destructive relationship patterns.


Different Types of Abuse


We tend to think of domestic abuse as physical violence or assault on a wife but in reality, domestic abuse is the summary of physically, sexually and psychologically abusive behaviors directed by one partner against another, regardless of their marital status or gender. Usually, when one form of abuse exists, it is coupled with other forms as well. Physical assault is the obvious form of Domestic Violence, the most visible, and also the most lethal. Assaults start small, maybe a small shove during an argument, or forcefully grabbing your wrist, but over time, physical abuse usually becomes more severe, and more frequent, and can result in the death of the victim.


Physical Abuse: Physical abuse is any act of violence on the victim, and can include: slapping, kicking, shoving, choking, pinching, pulling hair, punching, throwing things, forced feeding, burning, beating, use of weapons (gun, knives, or any object), or physical restraint—pinning against wall, floor, bed etc.


Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse may be defined as any sexual encounter without consent and includes any unwanted touching, forced sexual activity, be it oral, anal or vaginal, forcing the victim to perform sexual acts, painful or degrading acts during intercourse, and exploitation through photography or prostitution. Sexual Abuse involves: excessive jealousy; calling you sexually derogatory names; forcing unwanted sexual act; criticizing you sexually; forcing you to strip; sadistic sexual acts; withholding sex and/or affection; minimizing or denying your feelings about sex or sexual preferences; forcing sex after physical assault; using coercion to force sex; taking unwanted sexual photos; or forcing you into prostitution.


According to a poll of over 8,000 women conducted by WomanSavers, over 54 percent of women said they were sexually molested by an adult male as a child. Statistics such as these are staggering and unless our laws are changed, it is doubtful these statistics will decline in the near future.


Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse is more delicate. Quite often such abuse goes unseen, as even the victim does not know that she is being abused. Although emotional abuse does not leave black eyes or visible bruises, it often seriously damages your self-esteem. Emotional abuse is cruel and scars your essence.


Verbal Abuse: When thinking of Verbal Abuse we tend to imagine the abuser hurling insulting names at the victim, and while this obviously does happen, there are many more forms than name-calling. The abuser may use insulting, critical, or humiliating remarks, he may withhold conversation and refuse to discuss issues, or he may keep you up all night insisting on talking when you need sleep. Verbal abuse undermines your sense of worth, your self-concept by discounting your opinions, ideals, or beliefs.


Verbal abuse include: Yelling or shouting at you; insulting you or your family; making threats; being sarcastic about or criticizing your interests, opinions or beliefs; humiliating you either in private or in company; sneering, growling, name-calling; withholding approval, appreciation, or conversation.


All of these abusive behaviors prohibit normal, healthy interaction between the two adults as well as a lack of respect for individual thoughts, feelings, and opinions. A healthy, mutual interaction and conversation between two persons respect and promote the right of each partner to their own individual thoughts, perceptions, and values.


By Relationship Expert Stephany Alexander

Photo Courtesy of WomanSavers

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