When we speak of abuse against adults, the topic is complex. What makes one vulnerable?
According to Brene Brown, “To feel is to be vulnerable, believing that vulnerability is weakness is believing that feeling is weakness. And like it or not, we are emotional beings: What most of us fail to understand, and what took me a decade of research to learn, is that vulnerability is the cradle of the emotions and experiences that we crave. Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, and joy.”
We are created in God’s image, and He created us to feel deeply, to experience emotions, and to crave loving and nurturing relationships.
Unfortunately, often at the most vulnerable points in our lives, we may be abused and harmed by others. It does not mean we are weak, rather that someone abused their position of power to cause harm. The harm committed by others can injure us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
When we began to expand Plan to Protect® to include adults, we initially thought of the vulnerability of the elderly and those with special needs. We then saw the need to protect those who are newcomers to Canada, the influx of refugees to our country. More recently we have heard of the stories of fallen leaders that we once looked up to. Their misconduct was directed primarily to women whom they harmed spiritually, physically and emotionally. Their abuses of power deeply harmed the church. The list of fallen leaders is long and unfortunately, new names are added to the list annually.
How do we combat and respond to abuse against adults?
We begin (as always) by gaining insight and knowledge and awareness of the abuse of power, influence, authority and control. When that power is used to harm an individual and injure another, it is considered abuse.