Effects of Abuse on Women by Sherryl D. Hancock

Everything to EveryoneThere are a number of types of abuse. There is emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and of course physical abuse, to mention a few. Some women respond to abuse by shouldering the blame, “It’s my fault he hits me” or “If I was just skinnier he wouldn’t be so disgusted by me.” Other women take it in another direction, they get extreme, like Francine Hughes who burned the bed her husband slept on when he’d abused her one too many times. Still others internalize the abuse not realizing that it’s changing who they are inside. In my case, I believe that sexual abuse colored my judgement about men in general and made me believe that I could never trust them. It took a long time to realize this about myself, and since realizing it, I’ve been better able to temper my reactions to men in general.

What’s more insidious is that often women don’t even recognize that they’re being abused. I myself didn’t recognize that I was being verbally abused in a relationship until I just happened to tell a coworker a story about what had happened at home the night before. The story was about how my husband had reacted to something as silly as the cordless phone not being on the cradle when he got home. No, he didn’t hit me, or throw things at me, he just cussed a blue streak and yelled and caused general upset in the house. When I finished telling my story, I noticed that my coworker was looking at me horrified. In response, I shrugged and said, “He’s like that all the time, no big deal.” Her reaction was to shake her head and say, “Wow, I don’t know how you live like that.” It was at that moment that I realized he was being verbally abusive. It was one of the many things that started the demise of my marriage.

It’s usually easy to recognize physical or sexual abuse in their purest form: rape, molestation, physical assault. But the other types of abuse aren’t so easy to recognize. When women don’t even realize that they’re being abused, it’s much harder to understand our emotional reaction to someone. Growing up as the daughter of an abusive stepfather, there were a lot of things about my marriage that I wouldn’t allow: him telling me what to do, him being overly concise about how our kids cleaned the house, etc. But not realizing that how he spoke to me was abusive too, I had never formulated a defense to that. Understanding abuse in its many forms is the key to addressing and defusing it. Women need to be empowered with knowledge so they can stand up for themselves!

When I write my books, I include strong female characters that have dealt with abuse. I want women to understand that you can survive abuse and still be strong. I also try to address various types of abuse so women may recognize it in their situation and realize it’s happening to them.

SDHancockSherryl D. Hancock lives in Sacramento, California, with her wife Tirzah, and has been writing since she was a teenager. Sherryl’s bestselling WeHo series deals with a number of important topics such as abuse and problems with mental health. Sherryl’s books are filled with strong, inspiring women in the hope of helping and inspiring others.

The latest book from the WeHo series Everything to Everyone (Vulpine Press) is available to buy now on Amazon!

You can find the author on Facebook: @SherrylDHancock. See more of her books on the website: https://www.vulpine-press.com/we-ho



  1. That’s great Sherryl; many years ago I was studying Welfare work at college here in Australia, and only by reading about the verbal abuse cycle did it suddenly dawn on me that I was actually IN that with my then boyfriend. No more! In some ways, I think verbal and emotional abuse are the most insidious, and hardest to recognize or explain. I will definitely check out your work, and thank you for doing what you do, G

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I can see that verbal and emotional abuse are insidious and hard to explain. This can trick your mind into dismissing the abuse as you misreading the situation or looking for explanations in all the wrong places, including your own behaviour. So glad to hear that your recognised what was happening and are now free of it. Have a hug.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Jean, that’s exactly what happened: I used to be so sure I was right, but then would slowly end up feeling wrong, it was very confusing. My anxious 23 yr old self will take that hug thanks, and my strong, soft, smart 51 yr old self will hug you back!

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  2. I spent 16 years married to a man who was wonderful…just not for me. My first real relationship with a woman turned out to be with one who was verbally abusive, emotionally abusive and highly manipulative. That wasn’t evident right away. She was on her best behavior and hid those tendencies well until we got past the initial stages. When I ended it, I was never so relieved. Sad to say, it took me a couple of years to see it and to figure out how to deal with it and it cost me a job in the process (long story). I wouldn’t wish any form of abuse on anyone, physical, sexual, emotional or verbal.

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    • Yes, so many men who abuse are well thought of socially and in the wider family circle. That’s why I hate it when people excuse violent men as just ‘blowing up’ or ‘snapping’ when they abuse women. They never have such blowouts at work or in the pub, they save it for one person. It is controlled. There is nothing random about it. I am sorry that you had to experience abuse from a woman too. This is often a very difficult situation to recognise and find support for. Happy to hear that you found the power inside you to end it. Hugs from Ireland.

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  3. I used to work in this field in London and saw a lot of strong women at a really low ebb. Often, they still loved the abuser, they didn’t want to end the relationship, they just wanted the abuse to stop. It takes a long time to realize that nothing is going to make that happen. By that time, women are utterly worn and often have little idea of how to put their lives back together. It takes a lot to apply the label of ‘abuse’ to one’s self. Other women here know what that is like. I just want to acknowledge the strength of the sisterhood that built the refuge system and the courage of the women who stay in abusive relationships for whatever reason and the bravery of the women who gather a few things and walk out. As women we all have a role to play, whether it is just talking about abuse so that it is less easy for abusers to hide in the silence, listening to our gut when we think a friend may need information, donating, etc. and, of course, writing the reality of abuse and survival, as Sherryl does. it is so important to show that we can survive and be whole people with full lives again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes yes yes! Well said. In the past I’ve donated proceeds from my theatre shows to women’s refuges, and the sense of contribution was deeply moving. We sistas can do anything when we stick together, and take no shit from men xO


  4. Sometimes it’s so insidious too … like the death of a thousand cuts, where you don’t realise what’s happening until you’re surrounded by a pool of blood … metaphorically (or otherwise) speaking.

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