The statistics on abuse are staggering and yet, it remains grossly underreported. Abuse has many forms: sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional. It can occur at any age, at any income level, and in any culture. The common theme shared by all types of abuse is the devastating impact it can have on a person’s sense of self-worth, physical well-being, and psychological health.

Childhood abuse can result in long-term struggles with fear, panic attacks, mood, nightmares, outbursts of anger and sudden shock reactions when being touched unexpectedly. It can result in victims feeling disgust towards their own bodies, engagement in self-harm behaviors, depression, and is associated with higher incidences of drug use. Feelings of mistrust and intimacy difficulties can follow victims into adulthood and severely impact the quality of their relationships. While therapy does not erase the effects of abuse, it can assist by providing real and meaningful assistance and help to minimize the multiple negative effects of abuse.

If you are currently in an abusive relationship, I encourage you to seek help from an outside party. There are numerous resources available both children and adults. A few suggested resources available to you are:

1. National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 www.ndvh.org
2. National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline: 1-866-331-9474
3. Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse: www.mincava.umn.edu

Below are several books identified as being helpful to those who have experienced abuse or who know a loved one is a victim of it. They are not a substitute for therapy or other supportive resources, but may help to normalize feelings and struggles endured by many who have been harmed. It is often comforting to know that you are not alone--that your feelings about what happened are justified and shared by others who have had similar experiences.