Posts Tagged ‘abuse’


As we approached fifteen years of marriage,  he got meaner and meaner; he grew more and more critical of me.  He made me feel like there was something wrong with me; like I was “less than.”

When we took the kids out to eat, he would wait for me to order, he wouldn’t say anything until the food arrived.  Just as I put the fork to my mouth he would say it. “Should you really be eating that? Do you know how many calories are in that?”

Every time, and yet I didn’t expect it. When those words came out it was crushing. I would fight the tears and nibble on my salad,  not touching the rest of it. 

I thought there was something wrong with me.  It wasn’t until much later that I realized it was him,  not me.

This is in response to a prompt on The Daily Post, to use the word “fork” for a post.

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Zilch. Zero. Nada.

Every year, between 133 million and 275 million children witness domestic violence in their home. What should this number be? Zilch.

In the United States, EACH DAY four children die as a result of child abuse or child neglect. How many children should die because of this? Zilch.

In the United States, four women per day are killed by someone who is supposed to love them and honor them. How many of these women should be killed? Zilch.

In the United States, 78% of the child fatalities due to child abuse and/or neglect are are a direct result of the parents. What should this number be? Zilch.

The statistics go on and on and on.

What can YOU do? Listen and watch for opportunities to make a difference in your community. Is there an election involving domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, or any other kind of abuse in your area? If so, speak up. Vote. Make a difference. Local communities need to do what they can do to make a difference. They can set up shelters, community centers, and inform the public. You can help make that happen. If you know someone who is being abused, you can help support them through it. You can make a difference in their life. You can help inform them. You can help make an escape plan. You can.

Until the statistics reach “zilch” we have to keep on working toward that number, doing anything we can to help the problem; to help the victims; to make survivors out of victims.

For the rest of the posts in this series, click here.

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What can YOU do to help someone who is abused?

First, remember that YOU don’t have to solve the problem, you just need to provide support.

Statistics tell us that it is VERY likely that you know someone who is abused. It might be your next door neighbor or you sister. It might be you student or your best friend. It might be your teacher or your student.

Know the numbers. Know who that abused person can call.

Be ready to help with child care so the person can seek help. Just know who she can call for child care. Be ready to help.

Let the victim know that you believe them and that you will be ready to keep their information private. Let them know that you care. Let them know you are there to support them  in any way you can.

Ask the person how you can help. You are not there to take over. You are not there to make decisions. You are there to provide support and information. They are the ones to make the decisions. Let them know that you are there for support and to help in any way you can. Let them make the decisions.

If a person chooses to stay in an abusive relationship, be there to support them. Don’t judge them. Just be there for them. It might not be the right time for them to leave. Just be there for them. Let them know you are there for them. Let them know you are a resource for them.

Recognize that they might not ever leave.


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Xenodochial means being friendly with strangers, kind of the opposite of xenophobic. How does that fit in with abuse? Well, that’s one of the traits of an abuser.

An abuser’s traits include:

Charming. An abuser is a charmer, someone who can impress strangers by their politeness, inclusiveness, friendliness. He/she is the last person someone would image would be abusive because he/she is soooo nice and soooo friendly and soooo easy going. To strangers, anyway.

Behind closed doors, an abuser is controlling, irresponsible, irritable, narcissistic, isolating, and impatient. He/she will not allow his/her partner to associate with friends or family because he/she wants to control everything their partner does. He/she thinks the world revolves around him/her and everything is about him/her. Everyone should be doing what the abuser wants them to do.

The abuser often is going from one project to another, seemingly unfocused on any one thing.

An abuser is often alcohol or drug dependent.

The abuser is usually someone with numerous failed relationships. He/she will abuse over and over again. They are often the type of person who will not be able to commit to a relationship, leaving one when things get tough (like a pregnancy, financial problems, the birth of a child, illness, etc.).

An abused adult may be someone that either was abused as a child or lived in an abusive household. He/she has learned to abuse from someone.

They often have a history of abuse related arrests.

They get more and more violent. Shoving becomes punching. Spousal abuse becomes child abuse.

They blame everyone else for their abuse, refusing to take responsibily for their abusive actions.

But to strangers, he/she is friendly, the perfect host, charming, nice, supportive. Xenodochial.

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Although I live in the United States and a lot of what I have posted has to do with the United States, abuse is by no means exclusive to the United States. Abuse is a worldwide problem.

According to the International Center for Assault Prevention (ICAP) approximately forty million children under the age of fifteen are victims of abuse or neglect. Internationally, up to 36% of girls and 29% of boys have suffered child sexual abuse. Between 133 and 275 million children worldwide are estimated to witness domestic violence annually.

According to Living Without Abuse (UK) domestic violence leads to an average of two women being murdered EACH WEEK and thirty men per year. The BBC reports that in the UK, one in ten children is neglected.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that, in developed countries, one in ten elder is abused each month. However, only one in twenty-four cases is reported so the estimates are considerably on the low side. In under-developed countries, the problem is far worse.

Pick any country and search for abuse statistics. You will be shocked. It is not an isolated problem. It is a worldwide pandemic.

Something needs to be done.

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Verbal abuse, while being very common, is difficult to spot. Often, a person doesn’t realize that they are being verbally abused. It can be very subtle. It can be passive aggressive comments. It can be constant sarcastic remarks.

  1. Molly and Jess have been married for a number of years. They have two children. He constantly makes comments about her weight. In fact, when she is nursing their first child, he wants her to go on a diet to lose the “baby weight” so she stops nursing to diet. She loses all the weight but he still calls her “fatso,” “chubs,” “baby whale,” and other names. When they go out to dinner, he waits until the food comes and she has the first bite on her fork ready to go in her mouth then he says “Are you sure you should be eating that?” Every single time. When they’re out in public, he won’t walk near her. He walks in front of her or behind her. When he sees someone who is very obese, he tells her that’s what she looks like, even though she is only five or six pounds overweight. He tells their kids to look at their fat mom. He tells her she has no will power and won’t ever lose the weight.
  2. Sharon and Bob have been in a relationship for six years. He constantly calls her “stupid” and “dumb” and “idiot.” Anything he sees as a mistake he blames on her and says it’s because she’s stupid. He laughs at her and jokes in front of their friends that she was too stupid to get in line when brains were handed out. He stalls when the subject of marriage comes up and tells her he’ll marry her when she loses her “stupidness.”
  3. Barbara and Henry have two pre-teen children. He verbally abuses her constantly. She puts up with it because of the kids. She doesn’t want to uproot them or make life difficult for them. So she stays. Recently, Henry has begun to call their 12 year old daughter “stupid.” He tells her she’s gaining weight and is going to be a “fat stupid pig” like her mother. He tells her she can’t do anything right and maybe if she weren’t so stupid she could figure out how to do things right. He calls her a “fat slob.”
  4. Tim is fifteen years old. His father is constantly criticizing everything he does. His school grades are not good enough. He doesn’t do his chores right. He’s too slow getting ready for school. He is not responsible. He can’t be trusted. He’s too dumb to be sent on errands. When he is sent on errands, his dad always finds something wrong with the results.

Why is verbal abuse so bad? It’s not just words. It is a constant undermining. It is a constant barrage of criticism. It is meant to make the person feel inferior to the one abusing. It causes low self-esteem. The person being verbally abused begins to believe the abusive words. They stop trying because they feel they won’t ever “get it right.”

Verbal abuse is often more destructive than physical abuse and always harder to spot.


For more posts on Abuse, click here.

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The other day I told you about Gloria (not her real name). Today I was going to write something entirely different but last night something happened that brings me to an update. A hopeful one.

Last night Sam hit her again. He had been drinking since the night before and all day yesterday. He blew up and started throwing things at her and yelling at her. He beat her with a shoe because he was “not going to lay a finger on her.” She took the boys into the bedroom and locked the door. He broke the door down. Apparently, the boys were screaming at him to stop and were very upset. The police were called and he was arrested but because he didn’t hit her with his fists, the arrest was for a misdemeanor harassment charge. He was to be booked and released as soon as he was sober. She called me and I spent the night with them in case he came back that during the night.

Today she is bruised and sore all over her back with shoe marks all over. The boys are still talking about it, even the three year old. She says she won’t allow him back in again. The kids were there and upset. The first thing one of the boys said to me last night was “Daddy is never coming back home again. He hurt Mommy and I was yelling at him ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!’ and I was crying.” We watched a movie and he kept talking about it during the movie, obviously upset about it. So I am hopeful that she won’t let him back home. He’ll be under a “No Contact” order until he goes to Court. He’s actually on probation from the first charge three years ago so we are hoping they will terminate his probation and make him serve the full jail term. That will keep him locked up for a couple of years. Enough time for them to move on. I know it won’t be easy for them but they will be so much better off without him constantly causing fear in her and the boys.

Join me in crossing my fingers and saying a silent prayer that Gloria sticks to it this time. This has to be the last time.

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