Abuse takes a thousand forms. It touches our lives every day, whether it’s occurring in our house, the house next door, or the house across the city. Pick up today’s newspaper. There will be a story of abuse somewhere within the pages.

Economic status will not prevent abuse. Gender will not establish who is the abuser and who is the abused.

An abuser wants to control his or her victim and will use whatever method necessary to gain that control.

If you’ve lived long enough, at some time in your life you were probably exposed to an abusive relationship. If you don’t remember one, you may have been lucky enough to get through the relationship quickly without it leaving scars.

Abuse can be a babysitter that waits until the parents leave before verbally belittling the children. Constantly. Hurtfully. Knowingly.

Abuse can be a husband who forces his wife to have sex when she isn’t in the mood. Time after time.

Abuse can be a mother who favors one child over the other. Constantly. Knowingly.

Abuse can be a wife who humiliates her husband in front of family and friends. Knowingly. Hurtfully. Spitefully.

Abuse can be a boss who implies that catering to his or her personal wishes will be the determining favor for job security within the company.

Abuse can be a husband who says “if you love me, you’ll do this for me” when it’s not pleasant for you or your choice.

Abuse can be a wife who says “if you go, I’ll kill myself.”

Abuse requires two participants: the abuser and the enabler.

Abuse inflicted upon a child is doubly evil since a child does not have the capability for independence. An adult in an abusive relationship could survive on his or her own, given the courage and strength to do so.

Abuse is the silent, insidious destroyer of self-confidence, making the abused believe he or she deserved the treatment he or she received. Many people in abusive relationships believe they have done something to deserve the treatment they are receiving.

Abuse may escalate to physical violence but non-physical abuse itself can be just as destructive and painful.

Many forms of abuse can be hidden from even your closest friends and family. Some abusers are well liked and highly respected in their community, their church, their career.

Verbal abuse leaves no visible scars. Emotional abuse leaves no visible scars.
Mental abuse leaves no visible scars. In its most virulent form, abuse can destroy a life as effectively and efficiently as any physical disease.

Abuse can become a “learned behavior” wherein those who were abused as children become abusers as adults.

There is a way out of the circle of abuse. It begins with understanding the choices which belong to you as a resident of this earth.