Today, bloggers across the globe are blogging about abuse in a Bloggers Unite community effort. They were asked to choose a type of abuse to blog about in order to raise awareness of the different abuses that exist in our world. My question is, how can I choose just one? There are so many types of abuse in the world and I want to raise awareness for every single one. However, if I did that this blog post would be way too long, so I'm going to pick a few that have personal significance to me.
I knew someone when I was a teenager who had been abused as a child. She was extremely quiet and guarded about her childhood, but sometimes she would accidentally let something slip that sounded wrong. Sometimes she would say something about how she was punished at home, and it seemed she thought some of the activities were perfectly normal, but they were not. I was spanked as a child, but there were never bruises. She had bruises. If you leave bruises, you are no longer disciplining your child, you are abusing her. As a result of the events in her childhood, and probably a few other contributing factors, she was never able to truly become an adult. I'm not sure how she's doing now, but I know she's not completely healthy, and a lot of her problems come from the abuse she suffered at the hands of someone who was supposed to treat her with love and compassion. When a parent abuses a child, it doesn't just hurt physically, there are emotional scars that the child carries through adulthood. Those scars never heal.
I was verbally abused for two years. The relationship started out as a nice, equal, healthy relationship. We had a mutual respect for each other and our friendship grew to love. After awhile, however, he grew to hate himself and the person he had forced himself to become. Rather than confronting that self loathing and figuring out how he could fix it, he took it out on me. Two years of hearing "you're fat, you're ugly, and you're stupid" eventually made me believe that I was all those things. I wasn't any of them, not by a long shot. It took me about five years to get over the damage that was done when a man I thought the world of insulted me nonstop for two years. Don't ask me why I stayed that long. But I'm a million times happier now that I'm out of it. The only problem is, sometimes it still comes back to haunt me. The insecurities that were enhanced by the things he said still pop up sometimes, and I have to fight to keep my confidence when this happens. Every day, it gets a little easier.
Recently I heard about a couple I know and the fights they have. The story was that when they fight, he has a tendency to shove her against the wall or push her down. It happens more often when he has been drinking. It happens in front of their children. When I heard this story, I instantly wished something very bad could happen to this man so that he could never hurt his wife again. I know this makes me no better than he is, but I wanted to see him hurting as much as he hurts her. Why do people hurt each other? Why is it that people who are supposed to love each other end up hurting each other more than they can hurt anyone else?
While the above posts are about people abusing people, I also think the issue of people abusing animals is a big one. Animals are helpless and they have no voice. When people abuse animals, they are showing that they are cruel and heartless, and the scars left on the animal are permanent, just like they are on people. I had a dog once, a beautiful red dachshund that was found wandering in the neighborhood I was living in at the time. I took this wonderful dog in because I wanted to give him a good home. I have no confirmation that he was abused before I got him, but I am certain he was. I'm also certain it was a woman with a fairly shrill voice, because this little dog freaked out anytime I got upset and my voice got a little shrill. He would run away sometimes and other times he would get defensive. He even bit me once when I was talking to someone on the phone and they said something that caused me to get a little upset. I was sitting on the couch and he was sitting beside me, and when my voice got shrill (it doesn't happen often, but sometimes when I get upset it does) the usually sweet dog bit my hand. I call that lasting damage, don't you?
There are so many other types of abuse that deserve awareness and action. These are just a few that I have seen personally, a few that have touched my life and the lives of people I know. To read other posts about abuse, go to Bloggers Unite.