The Importance of Educating Your Family About Abuse
What a sad reality it is that we live in a world marred by abuse. In 2015 7.2 million children fell victim to child abuse in the USA. During the same year 15.7% of seniors over the age of 60 were subjected to some form of abuse. In the United States an average of 20 people are physically abused by their intimate partners every minute with 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men falling victim to domestic assaults. Abuse is everywhere and it is eating away at our society at an alarming rate.
A general misconception still exists amongst many that abuse is fastidious when it affects people from all walks of life. The abuse of men, especially sexual abuse and rape, is one that is greatly ignored, disrespected and even ridiculed with women being as capable of inflicting abuse as men are. In order for us to address abuse effectively we need to rid ourselves of all our preconceived ideas and strengthen our families, reducing the risk of broad-spectrum mistreatment.
Start with the children
Child abuse manifests itself in many forms: sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect, each having grave consequences for the children involved. Children need to be taught from a young age that abuse is never acceptable, whether as a victim or an inflictor. By teaching your children what constitutes abuse you provide them with the capacity to not only relate their own suffering but to refrain from engaging in abusive activities themselves.
Children follow by example and those who grew up in abusive homes often end up finding themselves on the wrong side of the law when they are older.
What about the elderly
Just like children, the elderly are also extremely vulnerable when it comes to abuse, often suffering at the hands of a spouse, a younger family member or even a caretaker. The elderly are hardly ever able to defend themselves against abuse, whether of a physical or emotional nature, and will often experience distressing side effects to their health. As soon as abuse of any form is suspected, intervention at the highest level must take place. Educate the family that although their frustration with their grandparents is understandable, emotional and physical abuse isn’t and that your house employs a zero tolerance towards any form of violence or abuse.
As hard as it may be, we need to realize that sometimes love is not enough, especially when your partner is abusing you. On a typical day in the USA domestic abuse hotlines receive an average of 21,000 calls. Walking away from an abusive relationship has proven to be one of the hardest things many individuals have had to do, making educating your loved ones about the dangers of remaining in such a relationship that much more important.
All families should have structures in place to both educate and support each in terms of abuse as well as to be made very aware of the legal implications of abuse-related offenses. While most of us have an inherent desire to nurture and protect, too many people are completely devoid of a moral compass. It is up to us, the former, to protect those we love against the malevolent latter.