There 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.
Sherryl 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