Ending Abuse Begins With Educating Our Children

May 26, 2011 Kellie Jo Holly

If I've learned one thing over the past two years, it is that our society is ill-equipped to deal with emotional and verbal abuse, and more than 75% of the time, we do not recognize it when it happens to us. And if we do know it is happening, we're reluctant to label it as abuse. Instead, we seek to "understand" and "forgive" or "toughen up and deal with it" believing our minds and hearts should be able to "overcome" somebody's hurtful words and manipulations.

We think we should be "better men" and "rise above" the verbal violence via passivity and silence (and maybe an apologetic smile if the abuser lashes out around friends, family, or the strangers in the canned goods aisle at the grocery store).

Reactions to Verbal Abuse

But you know what? I wish (I wish I wish I wish) that the first time my abuser hurled an insult my way I had stood up proud and strong, stomped my foot and said, "Knock it off!" and then turn heel and walked out the door. I wish I had not given a second thought to what he'd said to me. I wish I recognized that he was wrong, that it was more than a lack of tact, and that I didn't deserve to hear his crap for even one second of my life. (King James Version, Ephesians 4:31 "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice")

If I had withdrawn my attention from him, refusing to provide an audience to his two-year-old temper tantrums, each and every time he insinuated, insulted, yelled or pounded his coffee cup intimidatingly...I bet our relationship wouldn't have lasted three weeks.

For one, the time we spent together would have been greatly reduced and I would have asked, "What's the point of being with him when I can't be in the same room with him for 15 minutes?!" I could have weeded my abuser out of my dating pool before our relationship turned into the stagnant swamp of a marriage it became.

If Only I'd Been Educated About Abuse

But, perhaps more importantly, being able to know when to say, "Knock it off!" would show that someone had taught me what abuse was, how to recognize it when it was happening, and what to do about it. If someone taught me and I didn't listen, I am truly sorry and wish I'd been paying attention to you. Your lesson could have saved me many wasted years feeling alone and worthless and spared me from recurring depressive episodes (even after I'd left my abusive husband).

Now, feeling battered about by knowing my brain is not functioning the way I'd like and coming to grips with the signs and facts pointing to being depressed again, I am really truly pissed off that I stayed with my abuser. I handicapped my God-given and brilliantly designed mind by forcing it to withstand abuses it wasn't designed to process.

God and Abuse

I believe that God put us here to further His design. He made us into likenesses of Himself and dropped us like seeds into the fertile soil of the world He created. When Lucifer rose up against Him, God didn't give a second thought to casting the evil away from Himself, exiling Lucifer so far from heaven that the bible says there is no hope for reconciliation. And, need I remind you, God loved Lucifer like a son.lucifer-cast-out

But even God did not tell his children, Adam and Eve, what to watch out for in the Garden of Eden. God only told them to stay away from that tree; being childlike, A&E's temptation to at least visit the tree over-rode their one commandment. If God had told them that in the tree would be a whispering voice that sought to drive a wedge between them and their Father, whom they loved, do you think they would have been as likely to curiously wonder what magics the tree held?

I'm just a lowly human, but I think that by the time God created Jesus, God learned that being a good Father meant explaining things before-hand. Jesus came into this world knowing that He was special, knowing His mission, knowing when He would die and why it was to be. God gave Jesus a heads up so He could maximize His time on this earth and teach more love and acceptance in 33 years than anyone else in the history of man.

Teach Children About Abuse

So people, if you follow my thinking and if you want to rid the world of the evil we call Abuse, then educate your children about it. Educate all of them - even the ones who you think will be "strong" enough to withstand it and wise enough to recognize it if it happens to them. Abuse education is more than telling children that no one should touch their private parts. Abuse education encompasses:

  • what abuse is
  • how to recognize it when it happens or by the feelings they feel after it has happened,
  • what to do about it, and
  • that even people who they love are capable of hurting them without leaving a scratch.

New Living Translation, Ephesians 5:11-14 "Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, 'Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.'”

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2011, May 26). Ending Abuse Begins With Educating Our Children, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, February 25 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

May, 31 2011 at 11:18 am

Dear Kellie,
I always thought Asian society sweeps abuse under the carpet. No one wants to talk about it and no teacher even tries to identify any child who might need help. In Singapore, people seem to function as expected - for instance, a teacher's job is to go to school to teach, a police officer is expected to maintain law and order etc etc etc. What happens eventually is abuse surfaces in nooks and corners with everyone not wanting to believe that it is not in their own backyard to fix.
But let's look at something. Every society will have its own elements of discord. After all, it is really normal for some bad eggs to persist but the real frightening part is when those bad eggs go on being just "bad eggs" and the abused/victim gets told that they should just straighten up and walk. Nothing happened so they are told and there is nothing anyone can do for you. Just grow up and forget Papa or Mama hurt you...
Well, I think there needs to be lots of awareness created for these societies and having lived in one for that long, I can tell you that people just don't talk about it. It is taboo and I feel comfortable being here because while abuse does happen here (as I said, there will always be "bad eggs" everywhere!) people are more inclined to talk and discuss whether it be in a forum, blog or a meeting loosely set up by the church or some voluntary organization.
I have lived with abuse for years and I want to tell people to wake up and look around because there are always tell tale signs of the abuser. They manifest themselves in ways that only few like you will know. Get them before they get you!! And always, stand ground and protect yourself because if you let the abuser dominate you which I sadly did since this is my father we are talking about, you are giving access to that person to have their hand in the way you do things that could eventually end up hurting your family.
I am sorry I got too long - you wrote something that triggered off my inner thought processes. Thanks for the wonderful advice Kellie!

May, 30 2011 at 3:25 pm

What can be said of a abused preson! We take one day at a timeand hope to live to see it. There is only one preson that can help us. Ourself's. Reaching out to others proves to be one more lecture or disappointment. I wish you well.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Holly
May, 31 2011 at 12:04 am

Matisse167, are you able to visit a doctor? It sounds like you are feeling hopeless. Have you checked to see if you could be depressed? Depression clouds our vision and removes our hope. If you reached out to someone who lectured you, I recommend you try it again with someone else. That person who only lectured you wouldn't be a good addition to your support network.

May, 30 2011 at 12:17 pm

Thanks Kellie for the support. Please don't think your sons have been oblivious to what has been going on for the past several years. They have looked to their father as a role model (I know...what a joke) so they think that is the way they should treat women. As mothers, we allowed it to go on so now it's our job to admit to them we should not have allowed it. It is not the way to treat any human being. With the help of a great therapist (as you have mentioned,one that empowers you without actually telling you what to do) who I have been seeing for a year I'm slowly getting through this mess. The last few days things have been some better (he's trying) but even my husband admits he can turn on a dime (which we both know can happen) which keeps me cautious at all times. Thanks again! Jan

Kellie Holly
May, 30 2011 at 4:39 am

JGM27: I feel for you. I was afraid that same thing would happen to me. Don't give up hope. You can insist on proper treatment from your children. You may have to use a lot of "tough love" and set your own boundaries about how you will and won't be treated by them. Don't give up on your recovery. Great things come from insisting on fair treatment.

May, 28 2011 at 4:08 am

i was verbally and emotionally abused by my employer for 7 long years. i got so beaten down and crippled i could barely talk or breath in her presence. i already suffered from PTSD and DID and anxiety and depression before this relationship, but those years of extra abuse really did me in and caused me to become disabled. i am still recovering. verbal abuse is Very Destructive. thanks for writing.

May, 27 2011 at 2:29 am

Hi Kellie,
I'm with you. I too have been in a verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive marriage for almost 30 years. I stayed because I was a child abuse survivor who didn't know any better. I protected my kids as well as I could so I thought but it came back to haunt me. My three sons (now grown) began treating women as they saw their father treat me which upset me more than anything. Apparently I made a mistake. I should have left years ago.

May, 26 2011 at 10:53 pm

Wow. Your post pretty much left me speechless. I've been in an abusive relationship for almost 4 years, but he wasn't my husband. Guilt, condemnation, and confusion only come from the devil. xxx

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