What is the most common form of abuse?

Neglect is the most common form of child abuse. Physical abuse can include beating, shaking, burning, and biting. Harassment, physical and sexual abuse, and witnessing abuse from others are also forms of emotional abuse. This is the type of abuse that many people think of when they hear the word “abuse.” It can also include reckless driving or invading someone's physical space and, in any other way, making someone feel physically unsafe.

While sexual abuse can be a form of physical abuse, we place it in a category on its own because it can include both physical and non-physical components. It may involve rape or other forced sexual acts, or withholding or using sex as a weapon. An abusive partner may also use sex as a means of judging their partner and assigning a value to it, in other words, criticizing or saying that someone is not good enough at sex, OR that sex is the only thing they are good for. Because sex can be so loaded with emotional and cultural implications, there are many ways that the feelings around you can be uniquely used for power and control.

It wasn't until 1993 that spousal rape was illegal in all 50 states, so some people may continue to assume that sex is something the couple is entitled to, and they don't recognize it as a broader pattern of power and control. Physical abuse is intentional bodily injury. Some examples include slapping, pinching, choking, kicking, shoving, or inappropriate use of drugs or physical restraints. Sexual abuse is non-consensual sexual contact (any unwanted sexual contact).

Examples include unwanted touching, rape, sodomy, forced nudity, explicit sexual photography. Physical abuse is the deliberate intention to inflict pain. When someone hears the term “child abuse,” they most commonly associate it with physical abuse. Wounds, bruises, burns, fractures, and aching muscles are signs of physical abuse, but abuse can also be the result of severe disciplinary acts.

Injuries that don't match the explanation and untreated medical or dental needs are also warning signs for physical abuse.

Erika Shipley
Erika Shipley

Certified social media buff. Subtly charming zombie scholar. Hardcore travel maven. Passionate travel aficionado. Professional beer specialist.