Abuse in the World

What is abuse and how does it look in the world today? The definition of abuse according to the Oxford Living Dictionaries is:

“To use (something) to bad effect or for a bad purpose; misuse” 


“To treat with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.” (1)

Many people would recognise domestic violence as abuse or in the case of an alcoholic, the alcohol consumption as abuse. However, ‘abuse’ is being recognised as meaning so much more in the media today. It was thought in the past that abuse wasn’t that common but its spectrum has widened these days and includes emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is seen in both the home and the workplace in the form of bullying behaviour. Abuse is also seen in other areas such as in the sporting arena and nowadays on social media. This latter has even driven people to suicide and is deeply shocking.

There is corruption in companies – both financial and corporate. Big companies have off-shore headquarters whereby they can avoid paying taxes in the country where they carry out most of their work. Is this not another form of abuse? The more our awareness is raised, the more we tend to see abuse. However, my feeling is that corruption has always been there but we are now finding out about it more.

How come we have tolerated abuse for so long? Is it the shame we feel and don’t want to stand out or have attention drawn to it and to us? Until a few years ago it was a brave woman who stood up for truth and called out anyone who abused her. It was commonly thought that a woman who had been the victim of domestic abuse must have done something to upset her partner. Equally so, when raped on the city streets, at parties, in offices and in their own homes for example, women can get blamed for their attack. Even today in a more tolerant society, many women are cross examined as to their dress code when the abuse occurred, and it is often suggested that “she asked for it.”

Lately there has been a spate of acid attacks on the streets, whereby men and women have been disfigured for life. There is a saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” However is this true? Men tend to be more physical when they abuse, but women can use acidic words to abuse others emotionally: both of these can inflict long lasting effects on others.

With social media today, nothing much is kept secret any more. Cyber abuse can consist of sexting which has become commonplace – naked photos of girlfriends can get passed around a group. Vilification of both sexes, of race and of culture occurs on social media.

Young people (and adults for that matter) need more education around abuse e.g. exploring what abuse includes, and the need to respect others and themselves, and also to understand the laws regarding abuse.

The recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein in the USA movie industry is but the tip of the iceberg. Many people in positions of power have thought they can have their cake and eat it too. I wonder how many men have been abused by women in power positions and if so, would they speak up? This can occur in any industry. If a woman or man’s job is predicated on keeping silent when either has been harassed and abused, this should not be tolerated in the 21st century. Recently, two British MPs were investigated for alleged sexual abuse against their young female employees and have since been demoted.

It is time for such abuse to be called out. Corruption and abuse have gone under cover for too long. The ‘#MeToo’ forum is gaining names at a rapid pace on social media as more women are starting to speak out. Few women have experienced no abuse at all in their lifetime – be it ever so subtle. From catcalls to unasked for comments that are given in the street, to rubbing up against women on a crowded tube train. Men passing this off as ‘a joke’ when it is anything but, can no longer be used as an excuse.

In complete contrast, good men can and have been smeared by people calling out abuse when such men have lived exemplary lives. Even when investigations prove their innocence, many will believe “there is no smoke without fire.” Such investigations can prove deleterious to a man’s career. The whole area can become a minefield.

It is time for everyone who finds any form of abuse abhorrent to stand up and be counted.

A quote attributed to Edmund Burke I am inspired by is: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” (2)

By Sue, 67, Somerset UK 


  1. Oxford Dictionaries | English. (2018). abuse | Definition of abuse in English by Oxford Dictionaries. [online] Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/abuse [Accessed 1 Apr. 2018].
  2. Anon, (2018). Edmund Burke Quotes (Author of Reflections on the Revolution in France). [online] Available at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/17142.Edmund_Burke [Accessed 1 Apr. 2018].

Related Reading:
The Art of Appreciation – Helping to Break the Cycle of Self Abuse
Abuse – My Understanding So Far
Cyber Abuse @ One’s Fingertips

633 thoughts on “Abuse in the World

  1. Standing up and shouting from the roof tops (freedom of speech) has opened the door to everyone being able to verbally abuse others and this form of abusive way of talking to others needs to be understood for the debilitating effect it has on those who are not discerning enough to understand that everything comes from an energy, and thus it is very easy to takes these things personal.

  2. Abuse is kindled with the way we treat ourselves. If we do not treat ourselves in a truly gentle and nurturing way then it can become the norm to treat others in the same downward spiral.

    1. So true Mary. How we treat others is always reflective of how we treat ourselves. And we can always deepen our own self caring and self nurturing so that a look back at how we (I) used to treat ourselves can today appear to have been almost abusive.

  3. Social media has been hijacked by some people who feel they have a right to ‘free speech’ . What they have to say is not ‘free speech’ it is a way for them to relieve themselves from the pressure of the tensions they may be feeling in their bodies. The use of drugs, Alcohol, food, cutting etc.,seem to be not enough any more, the tension is too great because it is so raw and in their face. They can feel their own lack of self-love and harmony in their lives and that may bring up comparison and jealousy towards anyone that is seen to be successful. This comparison and jealousy drives some of them to the most barbaric acts against another fellow human – being.

  4. I have been noticing it in the work environment that when a behaviour which is missing the hallmarks of care, inclusivity and responsibility in any way is allowed to go unaddressed and unchecked, under the guise that it is not that bad, the behaviour invariably slowly builds. In the end you end up with something very obviously destructive on your plate that you can no longer ignore and you need to deal with.
    It is unwise to wait until we get to an extreme expression before we choose to address it. Nipping anything that is not of the highest quality in the bud is far more caring and responsible for everyone involved.

  5. “Men tend to be more physical when they abuse, but women can use acidic words to abuse others emotionally: both of these can inflict long lasting effects on others.” It is so often this verbal abuse that goes unseen, and can actually be way more harmful than physical abuse as there is nothing physical to ‘show’ other than the mental torment and pain that goes on for the abused.

  6. There seems to be a lot of stories in the news lately of young women being raped and then being abused even further by the justice system when it comes to them testifying or sentences being handed out. It seems as though the justice system is there to protect the guilty and make it harder for people to speak up and to tell the truth of what happened. How is it the justice system can go against truth and protect the guilty; how is it that we have got to this point.

    1. Yes and even more this year in the UK when the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) are either not proceeding with cases or they don’t have ‘sufficient evidence’ to convict the perpetrator. It is known that often when these people re-offend and get caught – it is discovered they are multiple abusers…. so many more women ( and it is usually women) suffer needlessly.

  7. Its the regular and repeated definition that makes its mark the most when I was reading that. Yes a single sentence can harm someone for a lifetime (you can’t sing springs to mind), but equally what about the tiny bits of abuse we allow everyday for 50 years (what we eat, the way we move, our level of conversation) and the impact that can have on our bodies.

  8. It seems to me that we tend to think of abuse as something worse than our every-day…something out of the normal…something that pops out as seeming extreme. Which means that, when our standards have dropped as low as they have, we could be living with abuse 24/7 without even recognising it. This is why standards our so important; raise the standard and then the abuse is exposed.

    1. Yes, accepting life as ‘normal;’ can actually be accepting abuse in our everyday – be it at home or at work Just because its accepted everywhere doesn’t mean its ok. Hence as you say its so important to set our standards – and keep to them – even when those around us drop theirs.

    1. So true Otto. I too have seen untrue ‘evidence’ that has been manipulated. So easy to take something out of context and present it as a true fact. Plenty of fires begun from a grudge that can wreck honest and respectable people’s lives. We know of suicides form cyber bullying. We just nee to keep on calling it out – the abuse it truly is..

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