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Opinions of Saturday, 3 April 2021

Columnist: Pearl Emefa

Abuse and its impact

Abuse is any action that intentionally harms or injures another. The action covers a broad spectrum of behaviours and actions thus making it difficult to define a specific number of types.

Repeated abuse lead to a myriad of physical and mental health issues including brain injury, heart conditions, respiratory issues, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence – is a major public health problem and a violation of women's human rights. Almost one third (27%) of women aged 15-49 years who have been in a relationship report that they have been subjected to some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partners.”

The following are the most common types of Abuse:

Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Psychological Abuse and Verbal Abuse

Physical Abuse: This is a common and obvious form of abuse. This type mostly comes with visible markings like cuts, bruises, and other long-lasting forms of evidence. However, some of the evidences are not visible, some people are exposed to pushing, shoving, slapping, biting, kicking, strangling, punching, or abandonment.

According to research, an abuser may subject the victim to being locked out of the house, deprive the victim of food, medicine, or sleep, or refusal to help the victim if sick or injured. Physical abuse can include harm that is intentional or that which is inflicted without the intent of hurting the individual.

Neglect is a form of physical abuse, where there is the withdrawal or refusal to support the victim.

Emotional Abuse: It is any abusive behaviour that isn’t physical, which may include verbal aggression, intimidation, manipulation, and humiliation, which most often unfolds as a pattern of behaviour over time that aims to diminish another person’s sense of identity, dignity and self-worth, and which often results in anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviours, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Emotional abuse is a consistent denial of your right to express your feelings. It is a violation or ridicule of your most important values and beliefs.

Verbal Abuse:Verbal abuse is an act of violence in the form of speech that decreases self-confidence and adds to feelings of helplessness. Verbal abuse is often the mildest form of abuse with obvious evidence.

Blaming, shaming, name calling, Insults of your appearance, are a few ways of verbally abusing another.

While some verbal abuse is practiced in secret, many verbal abusers become comfortable with making statements around friends, family, and in public settings.

Psychological Abuse: This type of abuse consists of various types of abuses that offers no obvious or physical evidence. This abuse is often referred to as emotional abuse, is a form of abuse where a person subjects or exposes another person to a behaviour that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

This also includes, withholding of affection, refusal to associate with victims, playing of mind games and ignoring the victim’s feelings.

Sexual Abuse: This is not an abuse on its own but an abuse that consist of psychological, emotional, verbal and physical abuse. This kind of abuse is mostly suffered by women in marriage and young girls.

This type of abuse is mostly present in the following ways:

Anger and Jealousy - Jealousy is a reaction to a perceived threat that’s real or imagined. This is normal in most cases because everyone feels jealous but issues occur when it moves from healthy to unhealthy.
Whether you are the jealous partner or your spouse is the jealous one, irrational and excessive jealousy can eventually destroy your marriage.

Sexually criticising the other – This is when a sexual complain is expressed as a character flaw. Repeated criticism may shake your partner's confidence and eventually make them doubt their ability to do things right.
Publicly showing interest in others – Publicly showing interest in others is a form of disrespect to your partner and might cause them to develop low self-esteem.

Forcing or unwanted sex – This mostly occurs through physical force. For instance, a partner may not feel like being intimate with his or her partner, but the other uses physical force and this sometimes leads to rape.

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