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There are various types of abuse besides just physical or sexual which sometimes is overlooked, not considered, or seldom discussed. Abuse does not discriminate. Anyone can become a victim of abuse, no matter a person’s age, gender, socioeconomic status, education, or ethnicity.

What is Abuse?

Physical abuse is any type of physical trauma. Physical abuse includes hitting, slapping, being beat with objects, kicking, and objects being thrown to hit a victim. More severe types of physical abuse include burning, cutting, stabbing, or shooting the victim.

Psychological or emotional abuse is probably the most common. Any behavior intended to hurt another person emotionally which includes yelling, threats, shaming, or humiliation.

Verbal abuse is a type of psychological/emotional abuse. Verbal abuse occurs when an abuser intends to use words and body language to harm another person. Verbal abuse includes put-downs, name-calling, and unreasonable criticisms.

Sexual abuse can occur with children or adults. Sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual contact. Sexual abuse includes rape, fondling, inappropriate kissing, inappropriate touching, oral sex, vaginal or anal penetration, or being forced to perform sexual acts on others. Sexual abuse can also include being made to watch sexual acts when it is not wanted or is inappropriate, or being forced to look at another person’s genitals.

Domestic abuse or domestic violence typically takes place in marriage or partnership but can also occur in a dating relationship. Domestic abuse includes experiencing physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and/or financial abuse.

Child abuse is the abuse of a minor child and can include any or all the types of abuses mentioned.

Elder abuse is the abuse of an elderly person and can include any or all of the types of abuse mentioned.

Financial abuse is when the abuser controls the victim’s financial resources by dominating, acquiring, using, and maintaining how the victim uses finances. Financial abuse is the least commonly understood abuse yet is the most powerful form of abuse by keeping the victim trapped in an abusive relationship. Financial abuse occurs most often within domestic abuse but can also occur in elder abuse.

Neglect is when the victim does not get the proper and appropriate care, love, or treatment one would usually expect to receive in a relationship.

Slavery includes sex trafficking, forced labor, and/or forced domestic servitude. Victims are:

  • Usually threatened to be deported (if from another country)
  • Threatened that their loved ones will be harmed and/or killed if the victim leaves or does not comply with the demands of the abuser
  • Forced to give up their identification
  • Forced to hand over all monies earned
  • Closely monitored
  • Often threatened and/or beat if the victims do not comply with the abuser’s demands.

Other types of abuse which are not as recognized or discussed include:

When an individual has experienced abuse, whether as a child or as an adult, healing can take place. Overcoming the abuse can be difficult and challenging. With the support of a caring therapist, the healing can be achievable.