Friday, 26 October 2012

Abuse does not have to be physical

There is a very common misconception that abuse is when a parent beats or starves a child, or when a child is sexually assaulted. Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse is very much a hidden epidemic. Recently I discovered, to my dismay, that in some places even the laws reflect this misconception.

As an abused child, I lived through many traumatic experiences. One of the most traumatic experiences was something that could easily have passed without notice. There was no aggression, neither a hand nor a voice was raised. There was no sexual suggestion, not even the most subtle hint. It was just a simple sentence, spoken in an unemotional, level voice.

Now I see why not even your own parents could love you. You're just too fucking useless.

I was 13 years old at the time. Before that, I had always thought that there must be something wrong with me that stopped my parents from loving me. After that, I knew. I know not only that it was true, but always what it was - I was fucking useless. It made sense, because it matched my father's words from when he told me that I'd never be more than a sex-toy for men. It made complete sense, because it matched the image I already had of myself. It told me that I was right to loathe myself - it was the only natural way to look at me.
That simple sentence was at least as traumatic as any beating I had ever received. If I had to pick the top five most traumatic experiences of my life, hearing that would be among them.

Sticks and stones? They've got nothing on words...

So what is the purpose of this post?

To point of this post is to illustrate that verbal and emotional abuse is just as damaging as other forms of abuse, and should be treated with equal urgency.

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