Let’s talk about abuse today.
Abuse can come in any form; it can be physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, and domestic or a combination of any or all of these.
Let’s break them down, shall we?
This could be hitting, slapping, pinching, tapping, biting burning, punching, choking, throwing, beating, shaking, and other actions not mentioned that can cause physical injury or cause pain.
Domestic abuse could be physical and verbal if the relationship between both parties is of a certain type i.e. an abuse between a husband and wife, intimate partner, former spouse, romantic partner, a family member, a roommate or a date is termed domestic abuse
This isn’t the noticeable kind of abuse, it is usually very difficult to understand but it happens with yelling, anger, threats, cruelty, and constant criticism in a spiteful way, dismissing in a way that decreases self-worth.
Verbal abuse can sometimes escalate to physical or domestic abuse. It includes the use of words to demean, insult, frighten, control, curses, constant yelling, condescendingly harsh, constant humiliation and name calling.
In simple term, it’s an unwanted sexual activity. When a person uses force, coercion, threats, taking advantage of another person of either same gender or opposite gender or over powering another to have sexual intercourse regardless of age or gender, its sexual abuse.
Also, it’s a type of sexual contact between an adult and a minor (younger than 18 years).
Let’s focus on sexual abuse;
I can see that so many have a problem with understanding sexual abuse. These are some examples to know when you’ve been sexually abuse or if you have sexually abused a person
- Unwanted kissing or touching.
- Coercion to have sex
- Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity.
- Rape or attempted rape.
- Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control.
- Keeping someone from protecting themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Sexual contact with someone who is very drunk, drugged, unconscious or otherwise unable to give a clear and informed “yes” or “no.”
- Threatening someone into unwanted sexual activity.
- Pressuring or forcing someone to have sex or perform sexual acts.
- Using sexual insults toward someone.
Bear this in mind that, most victims know their abusers, both genders can be victims and both genders can be perpetrator, sexual abuse can happen between sexual active partners(husband &wives, dating, fiancé &fiancée, customer and sex worker), It can occur between people in same sex relationship and consent can be withdrawn at anytime
What do you do after it happens?
If you have been sexually assaulted, first try to get to a safe place away from the attacker. You may be scared, angry and confused, but remember the abuse was in no way your fault. You have options. You can:
- Contact Someone You Trust. Many people feel fear, guilt, anger, shame and/or shock after they have been sexually assaulted. Having someone there to support you as you deal with these emotions can make a big difference. It may be helpful to speak with a counselor.
- Report What Happened to the Police or an advocate. If you decide to pursue the case, go to the authorities. You will have a stronger case if you do not alter or destroy any evidence. This means don’t shower, wash your hair or body, comb your hair or change your clothes, even if that is hard to do. If you are nervous about going to the police station, it may help to bring a friend with you. There may also be sexual assault advocates in your area that can assist you and answer your questions.
- Go to hospital. It is very important for you to seek health care as soon as you can after being assaulted. You will be treated for any injuries and offered medications to help prevent pregnancy and/or STIs.
- Remember we are in Nigeria; call your abusers out with proof if you can. Let people know what and who that person is to avoid another occurrence. Try not to keep it a secret
Many do not recognize when they are abused, it dawns on them years later. Know this, it may be quite difficult if you’ve lived with it for years and have taken it as norm, it becomes difficult for you to speak against the abuse and the abuser and difficult for you to get past it.
Thousands of people (male and female) are being abused by people who claimed to love them, their colleague, coworker, lecturer etc. no matter who they are to you; abuse of any form shouldn’t be accepted.
I personally know a lady who was sexually abused at age 10, a family friend and a church member who was always in the house, would constantly touch her then developing breast. At that age she had no idea what was happening. In fact, she let it happen because he would signal to her with his hands on his lips “don’t tell anybody”. It continued for a while until he stopped showing up. She didn’t really know what was happening until she became of age, gradually realizing that she didn’t really like her breast being touched.
Failure to take immediate action can destroy your potential to live a happy productive live or a sexual freeing one. The trauma follows you and may cause long lasting PTSD if not dealt with.
You break the pattern of an abuser and quit being a victim if you speak up now or and take actions.
I stumbled on some steps to take
- Never accept abuse
No matter the abuse, don’t condone it, don’t give excuses for a perpetrator, and don’t tell yourself it won’t happen again. Correct it the first time it happens, if not it will continue and become a pattern.
An abuser does not love you, respect you or appreciate you which make it easier to abuse you. Never accept is, find a solution or an escape the first time it happens.
- Take abuse seriously
Abuse is life threatening if it’s not checked, aside from the pain and scars it leaves.
Do you value your life? Do you value your self-esteem?
Hundreds of people have died from domestic abuse and physical violence; people live with the scars from verbal abuse. So recognize it and take it serious.
- It’s not your fault
No one deserves to be abused, absolutely no one. The abuser has a problem and it’s happening because of him/her, not because you’re beautiful, sexy, your appearance, you’re handsome or rich, intelligent, dress good, look endowed or attractive, it’s simply because the abuser is a problem, lacks self-esteem, worth and respect, has no regard for a fellow human, he or she is a person that doesn’t know what’s right or wrong with no human decency.
An abuser want’s to feel powerful, wants to be in control, wants things forcefully and to be feared and it’s absolutely not your fault.
- Never accept abuses
Drunkenness is not an excuse, anger is not an excuse, “I had a bad day” is not an excuse, “it’s because I Love you” is not an excuse. Don’t be manipulated or scared into not reporting it.
Never accept it
- Abuses don’t stop abuse…don’t use it
This is one recipe for disaster, fighting an abuser with abuse is not a solution. Protect yourself by getting out of such relationship but only when it’s absolutely necessary in the name of “self-defense”, you can stop an escapable threat.
Don’t fight abuse with abuse
- Take care of yourself by leaving
You must leave if you’re being abused. There’s never a reason to stay for continued abuse. It is advisable to move out or quit an abusive relationship. When you stay back, you encourage the abuse.
- Talk about it with a confidant or professional
Talk about the abuse and abuser, don’t hold back. Get out and get yourself together, keeping it in can lead to post traumatic stress Disorder (PTSD).
The next time it happens could be too late.