Abuse research papers illustrate that, regardless of type, abuse has considerable effect on an individual's physical and emotional well-being and growth and is a cultural phenomena that knows no gender, age, religious, political, or socioeconomic boundary. Not only does abuse affect the victim but those around him or her as well, including society in general. Abuse is not a rainbow of color rather an expression of darkness that finds its outlet in the form of alcohol, drugs, food, physical empowerment, verbal disparagement, emotional thrashing, and even acts of terrorism. Abuse, no matter its type, comes fully transferable and can be transmitted via different and varied vehicles including, but not limited to, a needle, a fist thrown in physical abuse, a killing machine, a simple misplaced and vicious word or thought and sexual abuse. Abuse, is therefore, an intentional act of destruction, one that causes harm to the body, mind, and emotion.
The Victims of Abuse
For victims, abuse can take many forms; one of the most difficult to combat is emotional abuse. This type of abuse is designed to control the behavior of another or subjugate them in some way through the use of humiliation, verbal assaults, or the creation of fear particularly in spousal abuse. When someone is constantly criticized, called worthless, or chastised for anything they do, they are the subject of emotional abuse; when they are fearful of behaving in a certain way due to the response it will provoke in another person, they are also victims of emotional abuse. Overcoming emotional abuse is much more difficult than physical abuse; because the person is gradually brainwashed to believe they are worthless or unworthy of love or attention, they need to work with therapists and counselors to redefine themselves in the context of healthy relationships. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was reenacted in 2010 and its aims to protect the abused child by handing the child over to a guardian during the abuse investigation.
Physical abuse, in its simplest form, is when one person causes bodily harm to another. This can take a variety of forms, ranging from something as simple as pinching or pushing to something as dramatic as strangulation or punching especially found in child abuse. Physical abuse can take nontraditional forms as well, including sleep deprivation, exposure to heat or cold, starvation, or deliberate exposure to a disease. Physical abuse is unique in that it often starts very slightly, with the victim not even realizing what their partner has done. A playful slap on the bottom or punch in the shoulder can escalate, leaving the victim to believe that later instances of violence are equally harmless. Further, the visual reminder of the abuse, often in the form of a bruise, can leave the abuser feeling remorseful and the victim believing their apologies; once the bruises fade, though, they are increasingly likely to return to their abusive ways, rendering the victim helpless once again. Childhelp.org offers articles and blogs for families overcoming child abuse.
Types of Abuse
Generally speaking there are, in the psychological and medical fields, five recognized areas of abuse.
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
- Substance abuse
- Mental abuse
- Emotional abuse
However, abusive behavior in any one of the aforementioned areas does not preclude one form of abuse overlapping with another form of abuse. For instance, elder abuse and animal abuse can hit every area of the five recognized areas of abuse.
The author of this paper will limit their investigation into only one area of abuse, namely, substance, as it relates to the adolescent population. First the term substance abuse will be defined followed by a discourse on adolescent development. Concluding remarks will then be presented that are representative of substantive abuse among adolescents today.