OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH
Domestic violence occurs every day and each year October is designated as the month to raise awareness. You may think of people who are abused as being beaten, but some victims are never hit. They are destroyed from being verbally, mentally, and psychologically abused. In fact, this is usually how the crime starts. The abuser chips away at the victim’s self-worth. Being called fat, stupid and ugly are common words that victims share when talking about the abuse, but it can be any type of demeaning comments. We all may have some area in our lives that we do not feel comfortable about and abusers are good at figuring out what words will hurt the victim the most.
If there are children in the home the verbal assaults may center around parenting. The victim may be told she/he should never have had children, are a bad parent and the list goes on. One aspect of verbal abuse is that it may be continuous. Victims have said that after they are hit there is usually a calmer period, but verbal abuse is like a dripping faucet that never stops.
It does not take any special skill to be verbally abusive or to call other people names. Just figure out what upsets another person the most and keep repeating it. But what does that say about the person who feels the need to demean others? They do not feel good about themselves and want to take it out on someone else.
If an adult or child is told, “You are stupid and will never amount to anything.” That can be internalized and have long-lasting and negative effects. This does not mean that we do not talk with someone if there is an issue that needs to be discussed. It does mean that we should do it with kindness and encouragement.
We have all heard that words cannot hurt us. That is not true. Words can be used as weapons. We must be cautious of how we talk to others. It can make a difference in how they think about themselves.
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