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Abuse occurs when people mistreat or misuse other people, showing no concern for their integrity or innate worth as individuals, and in a manner that degrades their well being. Abusers frequently are interested in controlling their victims. They use abusive behaviors to manipulate their victims into submission or compliance with their will.

Abusers control and compel their victims in a variety of ways. They may verbally abuse them by calling them names, tell them they are stupid, have no worth or will not amount to anything on their own. They may become physically violent, inflicting pain, bruises, broken bones and other physical wounds (visible and hidden both). They may rape or sexually assault their victims. Alternatively they may neglect dependent victims, disavowing any responsibilities they may have towards those victims, and causing damage through lack of action rather than through a harmful, manipulative action itself.

Abuse is a commonplace event in modern times, taking on many different forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse, occurring in many different contexts, including the home (domestic violence, spouse rape, incest), the workplace (sexual harassment), and in institutional (elder abuse, bullying) and religious and community (hate crime) settings. It touches victims across the lifespan from children through elders. Abuse is a serious social and cultural problem affecting everyone whether as a victim of abuse, a per...

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