| Dr Regina M Baldwin
|| Defining Types of Abuse
Part One in a Trauma Series
Dr. Regina M. Baldwin
This is a powerful series that will define types of abuse and then we will look at the consequences and what God's Word says about it. Don't miss this series and please share. More people than you realize suffer silently and we must all learn how to walk with them through the process to victory. If you have suffered abuse .. there is hope .. you don't just have to survive.
In recent decades the topic of abuse has become more prominent than ever before. The word has been overused and misapplied at times and the consequences of this is that it undermines the reality of abuse and it's profound effects on the damaging impact it has in the lives of many children and adults. We will consider the different types of abuse, the impact abuse had on lives (even Christian lives) and how we as Christians can respond to those victims in a healing and transforming way.
First let us consider a generic definition of abuse. Our English word abuse comes from the Latin word "abutor" which simply means to use wrongly. Other definitions also include insult, violate, defile, to tread underfoot, or tarnish.
Abuse occurs when ever one person uses another to a wrong purpose. If we stop and think about it - a person simply picking up and using another human being as an object to be used to accomplish some personal goal is already outside the boundaries and realm of healthy loving relationships.
ALL HUMAN BEINGS are to be recognized as create in the image of God and therefore they are to be honored, respected, loved and protected. To use another as if they were somehow our possession is already to fall short of the standards of God.
When we speak of abuse what does that mean and more specifically what the different types of abuse.
PHYSICAL ABUSE is perhaps the more obvious one - we can often see it happen and it frequently leaves marks on a person's body.
PHYSICAL ABUSE includes hitting, biting, pushing, restraining, blocking, beating someone with an object or using the body to block another person. PHYSICAL ABUSE also includes punching a hole in the wall or breaking something in front of someone.
PHYSICAL ABUSE is in essence: using physical power to control, manipulate, or intimidate another person.
One study suggests that between 25 and 30% of male and female children suffer physical abuse.
Statistically 31% of adult women in the United States will experience at least one episode of violence at the hands of a husband or partner.
More than 3 women are murdered a day in the United States by their husband or partner and a women's chance of being murdered. Her mortality rate rises 80% once she has left her abuser.
Pregnant women are more likely to be a victims of homicide than to die from any other cause.
The March of Dimes has stated that violence during pregnancy is the single largest cause of birth defects.
Often times when someone has been thrown around by another person we minimize with comments such as "at least he/she didn't hit her." PLEASE KNOW that physical abuse can occur, be terrifying and oppressive and damaging even when physical evidence is not present on the body.
VERBAL ABUSE: Words can be used to abuse as well. We call that verbal abuse. By that we mean name calling, demeaning, humiliating, and smearing. It is in essence using verbal power to control, manipulate or intimate another person.
Do you suppose it is verbal abuse when a man curses at his wife or calls her a slut or a whore or an idiot or a tub of lard?
Do you suppose it's verbal abuse when a parent calls a child stupid, worthless or someone that should never have been born or won't ever be anything?
Is it verbal abuse when a teacher selects out a child and shames them in front of the class?
Or is it abuse when older children bully a younger child and humiliate them with their words?
Is it abuse when a spouse demeans and criticizes everything a spouse does day after day .. their parenting, their work, their relationship with God?
ABSOLUTELY, YES .. all these examples are verbal abuse. A human being in these instances created in the image of God has been littered with verbal trash. They have been used as a verbal punching bag. It is abuse and can have long and profound consequences in a life.
EMOTIONAL ABUSE: Emotional abuse is often more subtle and usually accompanies verbal or physical abuse. It is the systematic tearing down of another human being by rejecting, ignoring, terrorizing, isolating, insulting or corrupting them. The use of emotional power in a relationship to control, manipulate, or intimate another person.
Persistent patterns of treating a child or spouse as if they were nonexistent, invaluable, blocking them from outside contact with other human beings. These are types of emotional abuse and have debilitating impacts on both children and adults. If I am leaving out any examples, I welcome your comments, input and dialogue with one another.
SPIRITUAL ABUSE: What do we mean when we talk about SPIRITUAL ABUSE? Spiritual abuse is the use of spiritual power or position to control, intimidate or manipulate another person.
When leaders of a church use their power and distortion of scripture to tell their members to give all their income to the church to be then dispersed by the leaders.
When a church leader uses scripture to influence a woman who is battered to return home where she is not safe.
Those in authority .. teachers, coaches, pastors, spouses, parents .. have sometimes used scriptures to coerce children or adults into sexual relationships.
Spiritual abuse always involves a distortion of the Word of God and the Character of God.
Scripture or theological teaching are twisted to get someone to do something wrong and is an attach on the very character of God.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When someone has been abused over time, their thinking has become confused and they are often not capable of recognizing these distortions and they wrongly conclude that to disobey the authority that has been abusing them is to disobey God.
God has very strong words in Ezekiel 34 who abuse others by spiritual means or position: vs. 10: "I am against the shepherds and will demand my sheep." We will get into looking at the context of different texts in the Word of God later in the series but know God takes abuse seriously and so should we.
This last category, sexual abuse, is quite lengthy in nature, and I will continue with that tomorrow as this vital series continues.
Dr. Regina M. Baldwin provides abuse counseling and consulting. Please reach out. You can thrive instead of survive: 1-800-750-2309 or use the contact form.