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

528 thoughts on “Abuse in the World

  1. This is a very needed conversation for we have normalised putting ourselves and others down. We have also normalised competition often at the expense of others, rather than confirming and appreciating our equalness in essence.

  2. Thank you Sue. Your concise article highlights the importance for everyone to call out abuse and say No, starting with ourselves and this will ripple out to others and how we are in the world with each other.

  3. The world is full of abuse but only because we allow it in our own lives. Choose to not have abuse in our lives and our world will change.

  4. There is abuse in the world to such a degree that we cannot fathom and would not even believe if we knew the many ways it comes about. My understanding of abuse is naturally deepening all the while I bring the ways of love into my everyday.

  5. Abuse is everywhere and I find it can be so easy to blame others without 1st saying ok so what am I being shown? why is this happening to me? The more I do this and take responsibility for my part the less I get affected by what is going on around me. We are here to be love nothing less.

  6. There are so many subtle ways of abuse, when we don’t adore the person standing in front of us and we speak to them with anything less than that – we are abusing.

  7. When we start to self-love we start to see what is not love and is thus abuse or abusive. With the current iceberg of abuse in our world it makes me think that as a race of human beings we must (oddly) have an aversion to love or to being loving only because if we didn’t then our world would not be the quality (of abuse; lovelessness) as we experience today. When there is no fight, aversion, distraction, numbing, deflection, but instead an awareness and embracing of what we innately are; love, then our world will change to mirror this naturalness.

  8. We can’t deny with abuse being everywhere that it is something only a few people do but have to look at our own lives and how we are all living that produces such an environment full of abuse.

  9. By beginning with very simple self-caring acts, like going to bed early, eating foods that are nourishing and light, moving our bodies gently, etc. we can begin to then only accept those self-loving acts as our new normal and thus any abuse will stand out more and not be tolerated. This starts with our young children in our homes and schools, as it is now not really taught.

  10. Each time I go to the gym and observe women running on the tread mill, I feel with each step they take is an absolute assault on their bodies. To them they are getting fit but for me it feels like are abusing their delicate body. Abuse comes in all different ways, often in the guise of getting fit and healthy…ironic isn’t it?

  11. Abuse has always been rife and today, people are more willing to jump on the bandwagon and call it for what it is, especially when it leads to acclaim and even celebrity status. The question is whether we are willing to address abuse in its at times most subtle forms, i.e. when we abuse ourselves by what we ingest and engage in and, more often than not, call ‘normal’.

  12. Something that I have been pondering on is how under the guise of ‘doing good’ or even ‘public good’ is how this can be used as a platform to abuse another or to try and make another less or as a platform to criticise another and the decisions that they make – all of course is abuse.

  13. Sue abuse is everywhere, and the most common form is self abuse. Different forms of self abuse can be hidden in ideals we celebrate such as being a ‘good’ mum or dad and placing everyone and everything before our own care, or pushing the body to extremes in the name of a trophy or other accolade for sport or study, etc. Whenever we push or neglect the body, or even speak to ourselves in an unkind way we are in self abuse. I was also considering the way I used to stuff myself at all you can eat restaurants, we would not eat much through the day and then overeat at the buffet at night, which would have placed my digestive system under enormous pressure, another form of self abuse in a sense because it’s a misuse of the body.

  14. The abuse that happens on the internet is deeply shocking, there is no other way to look at it other than abuse, it is inexcusable and horrific. And I feel that we have a long way to go to rid our communities of its nasty presence.

    1. I agree Shami, our standards have horribly dropped, such abuse on the internet is like war and words are the weapons used. Cyberbullying and abuse on the internet are a huge energy that seems to be getting bigger.

    2. I agree Shami it is but it is just indicative of where as a society we are at. It is just magnified online because we can seemingly hide behind closed doors and psuedo names. The more we see anything less than love as abuse the more we will not tolerate what is not.

  15. Yesterday, for the first time and in the community I’ve lived in for thirty years, I was abused on the street. A man was walking, I stepped aside to let him pass he stepped back into my path and slapped me against my face, his aim missed its target and knocked off my glasses. What was important was my response. I’d been walking my walk when it happened and felt nothing: no anger, no fear. I simply picked up my glasses and walked on without looking back at my assailant. We all meet abuse in life, what matters is preparing our bodies so that when it comes we know how to respond.

    1. Thank you Kehinde for sharing this experience of abuse and how you responded, what a huge event to have come your way.

      1. Thank you Melinda. Forces come our way in many different guises and attempt to knock us off our path and diminish us. To walk in a body of love supports us to hold our resolve and not allow anything to bring us down.

  16. Speaking up about abuse can be confronting, and makes us aware of beliefs we hold one of which the desire to be liked. Once we align to purpose, our attachment to being liked dissipates and we’re impulsed to express truth regardless of consequences.

  17. A real understanding and sharing on the abuse in the world and how it effects us all. A brilliant sharing much needed to bring about a change in awareness and the abuse in the world offered to be expressed and called for what it is.

  18. What also needs to be said also is the abuse known as bullying starts so very young at school and the kids won’t say anything for fear of being branded a tell-tale and also a lot of the teachers don’t seem to want to be involved. Any sort of abuse needs to be addressed and spoken about, nipped in the bud so to speak so we don’t grow up in a culture of it.

    1. Kev it also starts with societal attitudes that foster abuse in the young. Sometimes there is an attitude when boys are aggressive or rough physically or verbally with others that ‘boys will be boys’. I also experienced long term bullying at high school in the 80’s and the teachers were aware of it and rarely stopped it or spoke up about it. We all contribute to abuse even if we don’t actively feel we abuse others, as we can foster it with beliefs, and also by being bystanders or accepting it as normal.

  19. Are we not in abuse to ourselves when we train a bit too hard in the gym and harden our bodies; eat a bit too much every meal; eat the foods that don’t agree with us because they taste good; drink liquids which poison us but get us accepted in the crowd; keep quiet to not cause waves; shut up when we should speak up for Truth; not go to the toilet immediately when we need to; shop or travel a little too much when we want to avoid dealing with Life; are we not abusing ourselves and others when we do this and have we honestly stood up and acknowledged this too? Without critique but in deep understanding that abuse has become so rampant and normal that it remains undetected, but it is affecting everything in our lives.

  20. It has been an interesting observation that after several years of doing my best to live as loving and honouring as I can, I noticed the bar for what I consider love and decency has gone up and similarly many things I used to consider ‘normal’ in life I now consider quite abusive. Life forever brings us opportunities to expand and evolve, so many of us keep changing over a period. It is great to observe these areas once in a while to re-assess our current understanding and relationship with life.

  21. Abuse happens in its macrocosmic and microcosmic ways…we all have our own definitions for abuse and have set our standards for it. And hence it is for each of us to realise the standard that we have set and where that lies – but in truth there is only one standard that is True, and this is the one that we are all evolving towards and with that does not allow an ounce of abuse, but only ever holds us all as the equal divine beings that we are.

  22. Abuse is very common and some people are just looking for an opportunity to abuse and it is important to live in a way that minimises those opportunities.

  23. The abuse among school children today is shocking. Undealt-with trauma can lead very young people to drugs and self afflicted pain and suffering, even suicide. As this blog says it is so important that we address these issues now and not hide from the brutal reality of our times.

  24. In a nutshell what all this is exposing is the lack of true love and care in which we hold ourselves and each other. If one considers that we are all love at essence and anything less than love is abuse, we as a society have fallen very far and have a very long way to go to return to our truth.

  25. I have been accepting all kinds of levels of abuse at home and with friends for most of my life and I have also been an abuser on many levels. Yes, its not so nice to admit it but if we don’t even start there, then how do we change anything. And if we can’t start with ourselves, where do we start. We can’t point the finger when we still partake in the abuse and if we stand back and watch, we are just as responsible as the abuser.

  26. To increase the awareness about abuse we need to raise the level of love known.
    How can we otherwise recognise it.

    1. Yes, so simply brought to its truth, how can we recognise abuse when we do not hold love for ourselves.

  27. It is great that we are admitting that there is more to abuse than the obvious extremes. We are such sensitive beings, even if we don’t act like it, so anything that creates disharmony between us or in the world is what we feel as abuse.

  28. I am coming to understand that I have not really understood the level of abuse that I have accepted as normal or not abusive.

    1. Me too Jennifer, and I was thinking that if I had a bruise for every abusive word that gets expressed to me at times, I would look battered.

    2. I agree Jennifer, abuse is so normalised in society and in our lives that we don’t even know we are doing it.

  29. ‘The more our awareness is raised, the more we tend to see abuse.’ – Yes, and we can bury our heads in the sand but the level of abuse will still be the same.

  30. Staying silent when we have the words and have been impulsed to speak up is debilitating and crushing in the body.

  31. ‘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.’ – The level of cruelty that absue often comes with is shocking and seems to forever increase.

    1. Yes it is so painful to feel and witness these word of acid that you speak of that we are capable of. It’s so horrible that we would even want to communicate in this way towards or about others. Very painful indeed.

  32. ‘Doing nothing’ – the seemingly easiest way to deal with a situation we feel challenged by and or would like to avoid. Only problem: we can’t avoid, only ignore and the consequences will catch up with us anyway.

  33. When others falsely accuse another, is this just a smoke screen to hide something in themselves and obscure any quality’s of the person they are pointing their finger at?

  34. It is very revealing that we only call the consumption of alcohol by someone we call an alcoholic abuse but not anybody else who consumes alcohol. If something does harm to ourselves does it then matter how much we consume of it or use it so that it is abuse to our own body? Or is the harm done anyway but it is just a matter of time when the harm is revealed? This actually shows how we are playing with time and with that very much are fooling ourselves.

  35. Verbal and emotional abuse are unfortunately very common nowadays even though the societal rules have changed it is still often not easy to change the status quo. Most if not all of us have experienced the assault felt by some level of abuse and have buried these feelings as it felt unsafe to explore them. We are slowly changing and yet the social norm is still not to address these incidents. When will we ever learn…….

  36. ‘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.’ – The level of pressure to live up to pictures and ideals in today’s society is relentless, and the suicide statistics are increasing accordingly.

  37. I agree we need more awareness and conversations about the root of the abuse we see, all of it festers and snowballs, none of it just appears, we can shift things if we step back with honesty and see how we got here.

  38. The other day I heard someone swearing at their dog in a way that felt awful in my body. I remember a time when I (inwardly) said to another person – “I wouldn’t speak to a dog like that so don’t say it to me” I see today how far I have come, and how far I have yet to go when it comes to calling out abuse.

  39. The expansion and state of abuse in our world is deeply shocking and being exposed more and more in all its forms and there is a growing alarm that things need to change and standing up and calling this out is all our responsibility for ourselves firstly with an honesty and love that can change our quality and lived expression.

  40. ‘To use something for a bad purpose…’ – often we may not even be aware that we are abusive as we consider it as normal because others do it as well hence, no bad intention behind it we are conscious about necessarily, but the abusive effect speaks for itself – there can be no harm without a harmful action, and no harmful action without a harmful purpose, and no harmful purpose without a harmful energy. We need to track it back to its root before we can set ourselves free from the abusive cascade we allow the moment we choose the energy to govern us.

  41. ‘It is time for everyone who finds any form of abuse abhorrent to stand up and be counted.’ – Agree, I’d say it is high time for everyone to stand up.

  42. Abuse in the world is being fostered when we become complacent about calling out abuse, for example it is when we see it happen in the most subtle form and we let it slide and not expose abuse for what it is. But this only enables abuse to grow, circulate and fester when we do not put a stop to it. As a society we seem to be more open to address the extreme forms of abuse and brush aside the subtle ones. But in the world of energy, abuse is abuse no matter how big or small. If we all understand this, it could change the way we address abuse on a global scale.

  43. The amount of abuse we accept in our lives and tolerate from ourselves and others is enormous as is the abusive ways practiced by society today. A great questionl for responsibility to be taken by us all calling this out and saying no for enough is enough in every way for there is another way to live one of love joy harmony and purpose which our body loves and thrives on.

  44. Robin Hood did not put up with the abuse and corruption, it is no different today. So why have we not seen the same games being played today. Or are we playing dumb by being numbed from virtually all we do, then we get the thumbs up because we are all in the same game, which is denying our true divinity?

  45. Yesterday I was moving a piano. Getting frustrated as it didn’t fit I pushed it and scraped the floor. I felt like the symbolism of how we push our own instrument (our body) regardless of truth could not be ignored!

      1. I love this comment Steve, there is such a difference in the quality of these two movements, the first imposes, the second calls us back to live our true nature.

    1. It’s beautiful how things are reflected back to us in this way isn’t it? When we listen everything is willing to communicate with us to support us to re-learn what has always been known.

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