Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Stop Abuse!

Someone somewhere has decided we should join together to 'Stop Abuse!' A somewhat strange use of terminology I thought as it does not indicate what it means by abuse. However I am willing to go along with it and am aware not only of the many forms 'abuse' can take but sadly I am also aware how easy it would be for me to join in certain types of abuse, and then justify it to clear my conscience. How come you say? Because I am human, that is why. Anyone who seeks knowledge of humanity will soon realise that the best of us indulge in 'abuse' of one sort or another.

Venom is often found in humans at football matches. We feel united with those around us as 'our' team takes on the opposition. Sometimes this teamwork, this unity, confronts opponents who cheat or 'abuse' 'our boys.' The reactions we feel often erupt into venom , often deeply held from previous encounters with such opponents, and released with only limited control. On occasions this leads to groups rioting, and individual acts of violence which we say we abhor, but often feel were justified by the other sides behaviour. usually it is seen in shouts and bad feeling, and is controlled so well we can satisfy ourselves we did not step over the mark. Jesus however never 'abused' his enemies, even from the cross! I wonder how I can feel so much resentment at the way a referee seemingly aids Rangers every time we play them? Somewhere it says, 'Speak frankly to your brother, but do not hate him on your heart.' Even at mere football matches most of us fail in this.

But it happens in the workplace where we talk about others, gossip is abuse. It happens when we short change our customers or our boss, when we don't help when required, when we look the other way, when we encourage others to indulge TV, drugs, films or anything else that destroys them,no matter how mild it may seem.

But some abuse is nasty. Those involved need help and sometimes straight forward restraint if they will not change. There are many examples.

Domestic Abuse. Usually this refers to women assaulted by their husbands and other men in the family. Certainly this is the case, and I have come across this on occasions in surprising places. Class, wealth and situations do not cause nor hinder such abuse. However men also suffer much abuse at home,often physical, more often emotional, constant nagging, being ridiculed and finding their woman playing around with other men. Which is worse, abuse of women or abuse of men? Neither, both need help and as a society we are biased towards women, but I feel it is time we judged justly and offered help to both male and female in these situations. Strange how in this world today so many 'counsellors' can be found, on TV, Radio on and magazines, mostly women's magazines, yet as a nation we spend so little on Marriage guidance or 'common sense' relationship counselling.

Animal Abuse. For a nation so keen on pets we treat them very badly. if we don't fatten them so they can hardly walk, abuse by kindness, we leave them in plastic bags in the river, or kick them to death for fun. The RSPCA & SSPCA can curl your hair with the stories of ill treatment of animals. Yet we allow anyone to buy almost any pet and there is no check on them except the animal organisations. Dangerous dogs should for one be sold only to those trained and capable of handling them. But I suppose that costs money!

Aged Abuse. So many folk find it so easy to abuse the elderly. I do! How many times have you been walking through a street or a shop and been held up by some old fogey dithering about in front of you? Did you smile sweetly or curse under your breath because you were in a hurry? I have. Geriatric wards of hospitals are full of old folk who never see visitors. Sometimes they are senile and difficult to deal with, sometimes far from home and soon forgotten by their family. I used to think this awful, then realised how I have failed my ageing mother. How easy that is.....

That's enough abuse. Stop it the best way you can by helping wherever possible those around you who suffer, even if that means calling in the authorities. But the best way to stop abuse, and the hardest, is to avoid abusing others ourselves. I suppose that is part of 'Loving your neighbour,' I must make more effort in this......

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