Counselor Guide on: Abuse

What is Abuse?

Physical Abuse – The use of violence in the interaction between people. Physical Abuse includes, but is not limited to, rape, assaults, pushing, shoving, hitting, slapping, pinching, and so on, with the intention of causing bodily harm to another. Additionally, the withholding of necessary sustenance, resources, and/or substances, such as food, medicine, and other similar circumstances may be seen as physical abuse.

Emotional Abuse – The use of threat, coercion, guilt, deception, and other similar methods, with the intention of manipulating and/or controlling another person for the sole benefit of the abuser(s).

Religious Abuse and Institutional Religious Abuse – The misuse of Biblical Scriptures, doctrine, church tradition and policies with the intention of coercing, manipulating, controlling, and taking advantage of believers for the purpose of self-gain.

What’s the Correct Response?

Consequences – something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions. Where there are no consequences, there is permission.

  • The consequence must be, at least, equal in impact to the violation.
  • In this case, separation is the correct consequence, and must be immediate.
  • The length of the separation should be, at least, equal to the abuse committed, even if that means permanent.
  • At least one component of the consequences must include a change in character.

What’s the Solution?

Character change (which does not apply to Religious Abuse by an institution) includes an intentional shift in perspective to the point of viewing life differently from before. The person’s character is the outward expression of how the person sees him or herself, and what decides his or her behavior relating to other people.

  • A real change in character takes a minimum of 3 to 6 months, and usually takes as much as a year.
  • True change must be measured solely on the results of the person’s decisions and actions; their words and feelings should be disregarded.
  • Once imposed, the consequences must not be removed or lessened.
  • For Institutional Religious Abuse, the only real, and healthy, response is an immediate and permanent separation from that organization or group of people.

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