While you may figure that you’d know abuse when you saw it, there’s actually plenty of grey area too… we won’t necessarily all agree on when unpleasant behaviour becomes “abuse”. And frankly, I’m not sure it’s our place to tell you for certain… But it’s probably worthwhile to talk about how you feel in about the situation, which may well be that the person is abusing you, or taking advantage of you, or not respecting you, all things that are important. The struggle to answer questions like “why is this happening”, “what’s wrong with me”, “why can’t I stop it”, can all leave you feeling confused, angry, ashamed, even suicidal.
No one has the right to hurt you – you have the right to be safe, happy and free of physical and emotional pain.
When we think of “violence”, we usually figure the physical kind – hitting, slapping, punching, kicking – but the verbal and emotional beatdowns or intimidation can scar in their own way as well… hearing “You’ll never amount to anything, you little shit” every day for your entire childhood will wear you down. The damage from sexual abuse can likewise be completely life-altering, and there may be moments when victims will minimize its impact or downplay it because it wasn’t ‘violent’ in a physical way but the damage is real.
Abuse of any form – whether verbal, physical or emotional – is never okay.
“It’s not your fault…”
“It’s not your fault” can feel like an incredibly loaded statement, I know. From one side, when you see someone suffering through abuse, it’s often the first thing you want to say… but when you’re on the receiving end of the abuse, it can sometimes be difficult to imagine how it’s not somehow something that’s wrong with you that’s making this all happen. What’s more, there are definitely things that people who are being abused will do in order to set off or redirect the aggressor… either to “get it over with” or to try and protect someone else who may also be in danger. We get that this can happen.
I guess the actual message is that though it may feel sometimes like you deserve it, we don’t really thing there is anything you can do that should earn you abuse. You may feel like this is punishment for the bad things you’ve done, or like it’s just another sign of why you’re worthless, or that it’s okay for it to be happening because you yourself aren’t putting a stop to it, but these kinds of things aren’t always easy to stop! We also think that you can be something better… but that’s hard really hard to do when you’re getting beaten down all the time, and so that may be a decent reason to want it to stop. Being able to move on might be nice, eh?
If you’d like to talk about it, you’re welcome to come chat with a volunteer, but we’ve included a few other hotlines to this page in case you were looking for something a little different:
- Vancouver Crisis Centre – Distress Line (24/7): 1-866-661-3311
- SUCCESS Chinese Help Lines (10a-10p): Cantonese: 604-270-8233 / Mandarin: 604-270-8222
- Women Against Violence Against Women – Crisis Line (24/7): 1-877-392-7583
- Prideline – LGBTQ support line (weeknights, 7p-10p): 1-800-566-1170