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Abuse is defined as bringing harm to a person that occurs immediately or through accumulated effects over a period of time. There are four basic categories of abuse.
Neglect: Harm caused by withholding life's necessities. The ability to provide necessities but failing to do so is the factor separating neglect from the effects of poverty.
Emotional: Harm caused through devaluation. Examples include name-calling and threatening harm or injury.
Physical: Harm caused by bodily injury.
Sexual Abuse: Harm caused by any sexual activity between a young person and an adult, or between people when there is an unequal distribution of power. This includes exposing a person to sexual acts or pornography, regardless of their direct participation.
If you have been abused, you are not alone.
By age 18, one of every four girls and one of every six boys has been sexually abused; approximately 17% for child sexual abuse of males involving physical contact, and over 25% when non-contact forms of abuse were included. Emotionally abused or neglected children may not recover from this abuse until they reach adulthood, and even then some may not recover even partially, or completely.
Abuse and Self-Harm
There is a significant relationship between childhood sexual/mental abuse and various forms of self-harm later in life, i.e. suicide attempts, cutting, and self-starving. For adults and adolescents with childhood abuse histories, the risk of suicide increases 4- to 12-fold. Self-harm is on the rise, as is child abuse, and those who go forward to participate in studies show that abuse causes eating disorders, mostly anorexia and bulimia, in women and men, and that self-harm is a huge factor as a direct result of abuse. Most self-injurers have a history of childhood physical or sexual abuse. 40% of persons who self-injure are men. Maltreatment has been associated with distorted or extremely negative self-images starting in childhood and continuing throughout one’s life. Maltreated people typically view themselves as bad, worthless or unlove-able and are four times more likely to develop self-destructive behaviours such as self-mutilation or burning than those who have not been maltreated.
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