As we navigate through life, it’s crucial that we understand the different ways in which harm can manifest. It’s not always physical; it can take several forms that aren’t always immediately visible. In the points below, we’ll delve into some different forms of abuse – namely emotional, physical and financial – in an effort to raise awareness, encourage understanding, and support those who may be living in these harsh realities.
Emotional abuse, also known as psychological abuse, often goes unrecognised as it leaves no visible scars, but its impact on a person’s mental health is profound and lasting. It is characterised by a person subjecting or exposing another to behaviours that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Emotional abuse can take numerous forms, such as constant criticism, humiliation, manipulation, gaslighting, or undermining a person’s self-esteem. The abusive person might isolate their victim from friends and family, control their actions, or make them feel guilty for expressing their own feelings and needs.
Physical abuse is a more visible form of harm, involving any intentional act causing injury or trauma to another person by way of bodily contact. It can range from slapping, punching, and beating, to more severe forms of violence that could result in severe injury or death.
What’s crucial to understand is that physical abuse isn’t solely about the physical harm caused, but also the fear and control that it creates. It is often a means by which the abusive individual exerts power over their victim.
Less understood but equally damaging is financial abuse. This form of abuse often happens in relationships where one person takes control over the other person’s access to economic resources, diminishing the victim’s capacity to support themselves and forcing them to depend on the perpetrator financially.
Financial abuse might involve controlling a person’s bank account, restricting access to finances, hiding assets, or not allowing a partner to work or pursue education, thus making them financially dependent.
Other Forms of Abuse
There are numerous other forms of abuse that individuals can experience – these include, but aren’t limited to, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, digital abuse, and spiritual abuse. All these types of abuse involve a pattern of behaviours used by one individual to maintain power and control over another individual in an intimate relationship.
Understanding these forms of abuse is a step forward in mitigating their effects and preventing them from happening. It allows victims to identify their situations and seek help, and it helps bystanders recognise the signs and provide support.
If you or someone you know is living in an abusive situation, there are measures that can be taken to safely exit the situation. One such approach is creating an abusive relationship safety plan – a personalised, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave.
Remember, abuse is never the victim’s fault – everyone has a fundamental right to live in safety, free from violence and fear. As a society, it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves about these various forms of abuse, support victims in their journey to safety and recovery, and work towards preventing such harmful behaviours in the first place.
Let us take a stand against abuse in all its forms, today and every day.