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Get The Facts : Abuse

Here is everything you need to know about abuse...

Teentalkindia Counsellor 19th September, 2017

Regular and repeated violence and cruelty directed towards a person is abuse.

There are three broad categories of abuse – emotional, physical and sexual. An abusive relationship is one that is unequal. An abuser exerts power and controls in that relationship, by resorting to actions that can harm, or cause harm, to the other, in order to get what they want.  Abusers come in all shapes and sizes, while those abused may be kids, teens and adults.

What does an abusive relationship look like?

Abusive relationships may not always be obvious and the victim may not be aware that they are in such a relationship at all. Ill-treatment, physical injury and social withdrawal are only some signs of being a victim of abuse.  



Types of Abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse is repeated attacks on a person using intangible tools such as verbal abuse, in the form of insults, harsh criticism, intimidation and belittling. The “wounds” may not manifest physically but can leave as deep a scar on a person’s self as physical abuse. thus scarring a person’s self-esteem and confidence.

  • Signs and symptoms of psychological abuse include:
  • Name calling (Read about: Emotional Bullying)
  • Insulting the person.
  • Threatening the person or threatening to take away something that is important to them.
  • Imitating or mocking the person
  • Isolating the person

Physical abuse involves the use of physical violence including:

  • Hitting
  • Biting
  • Physical restraint
  • Substance abuse and alcoholism

Sexual abuse is essentially the repetition of non-consensual sexual contact, which is not just limited to children but affects teens and adults as well.

Deliberately causing pain and humiliation, without the partner’s consent is the most common sign of sexual abuse. This can lead to the victim feeling both physically and emotionally inadequate.

Sexual Abuse is not just limited to children or adults, but may be faced by some teens as well.

Sexual abuse can look like: your boyfriend or girlfriend forcing you to participate in sexual acts that you have expressed discomfort with, a family member or friend forcing you to watch or perform sexual acts; someone touching you sexually against your will, when you have had alcohol or not.

Identifying abuse

The repetition of actions listed below, but not limited to these, may constitute abuse:

  • Hitting
  • Slapping
  • Physical restraint
  • Name calling/ slandering
  • Verbal humiliation
  • Attempting to control the person’s actions/movements
  • Public embarrassment
  • Forceful sexual contact
  • Recklessness

What is not abuse?

It is important that the word “abuse” is not misinterpreted. Simply yelling at someone or having a disagreement with them is not abuse. This distinction is important since the corrective measures to be taken differ vastly, and can have a significant impact on the victim. But if someone confides in you about any form of abuse they are facing, do not disbelieve them – for, over and above being belittled, it can force them to think that they are liars too.

Abuse can be coupled with coercion and unwillingness – repeatedly being forced into doing something one does not want to.

What is consent?

Consent is the agreement to do something with or without someone, while knowing the risks involved.. Consent is the most important thing in a sexual relationship, where both partners must agree to what level the relationship must be taken forward. Repeatedly coercing a person into doing something without their consent constitutes abuse.

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Disclaimer: TeentalkIndia does not offer emergency services and is not a crisis intervention centre, if you or someone you know is experiencing acute distress or is suicidal/self harming, please contact the nearest hospital or emergency/crisis management services or helplines.