• 59°

Why do people abuse?

By Brenda Wynn

Inner Banks Hotline

Community Advocate

Domestic violence and abuse stem from a desire to gain and maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Abusive people believe they have the right to control and restrict their partners, and they may enjoy the feeling that exerting power gives them. They often believe that their own feelings and needs should be the priority in their relationships, so they use abusive tactics to dismantle equality and make their partners feel less valuable and deserving of respect in the relationship.

No matter why it happens, abuse is not okay and it’s never justified.

Abuse is a learned behavior. Sometimes people see it in their own families. Other times they learn it from friends or popular culture. However, abuse is a choice, and it’s not one that anyone has to make. Many people who experience or witness abuse growing up decide not to use those negative and hurtful ways of behaving in their own relationships. While outside forces such as drug or alcohol addiction can sometimes escalate abuse, it’s most important to recognize that these issues do not cause abuse.

Anyone can be abusive and anyone can be the victim of abuse. It happens regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race or economic background.

If you are being abused by your partner, you may feel confused, afraid, angry and/or trapped. All of these emotions are normal responses to abuse. You might also blame yourself for what is happening. But, no matter what others might say, you are never responsible for your partner’s abusive actions.

Being abusive is a choice. It’s a strategic behavior the abusive person uses to create their desired power dynamic. Regardless of the circumstances of the relationship or the pasts of either partner, no one ever deserves to be abused.

If you or anyone you know is being abused please contact a member of the Inner Banks Hotline Staff or call our 24- hour Crisis Line for safety.

Hotline staff members are Janie Spencer, Executive Director; Norma Hill, Client Advocate; Brenda Wynn, Community Advocate; Gloria Owens, Thrift Store Manager; and Avis Bryant, Faith/Hispanic Outreach Advocate. The office is at 507 US Hwy. 64 E (beside Family Dollar) in Columbia.

Hotline’s 24-hour Crisis Line number is 1-877-429-5526.