What is abuse and what does it feel like?
There are many different types of abuse:
- Physical abuse – when someone deliberately hurts or injures you, for example by hitting, kicking, burning, or throwing things at you, causing bruises, broken bones, cuts or burns.
- Emotional abuse – when someone is always shouting at you, putting you down or making you feel bad about yourself. It can involve being deliberately scared, humiliated, isolated or ignored.
- Sexual abuse – when you are pressurised, tricked or forced into sex or any kind of sexual activity with an adult or another young person. YoungMinds gives information and advice about being sexually abused .
- Neglect – when you are not being looked after properly, so you might not have clean clothes to wear or enough food to eat.
- Child sexual exploitation – if you are under 18 years old and in a relationship with an adult who is giving you something such as clothes, money or somewhere to live in exchange for sexual activities like sex or touching. Faceup2it has real-life stories about child sexual exploitation .
“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”
– The Emperor, Mulan
You may experience cyber bullying, grooming, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or emotional abuse through social networks, playing online games or using mobile phones.
You may feel that there is no escape from online abuse because your abuser can contact you any time but you can get help to stop it, even if you are worried about what you have been forced to share online.
You may experience domestic abuse or witness it at home between your family. Domestic abuse is controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people that are in a relationship.
Domestic abuse is not just physical violence – it includes emotional, sexual, psychological or financial abuse. Witnessing domestic abuse can be very frightening and emotionally damaging.
What can I do?
It’s not always easy to know if you or someone you know is being abused and if you should report it. You may be feeling afraid, scared or ashamed, like it’s your fault. You may not want to get the other person in trouble.
But remember it is not your fault – and it is always wrong.
There are lots of people who can help stop the abuse and make things better. You must report abuse. Please tell someone.