Because abuse is based in power and control, and because abusers specifically target vulnerable populations, ableism is often used and exploited as a tactic of abuse. Abusers will use ableist language to manipulate and control their victims, saying things like “If you weren’t so crazy I wouldn’t hit you,” or “No one will believe you because of your disability.” Abusers know that because services are often inaccessible for people with disabilities, it can be harder for their victims to seek help or get away - a fact they are quick to exploit.

Disability and abuse are also deeply linked because abuse can cause disability. Physical violence can lead to temporary or permanent physical disabilities, such as broken bones or back injuries. But abuse also causes the invisible or hidden disabilities: strangulation and blows to the head can cause Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs); the stress from living in an abusive situation can lead to chronic health issues; and constant emotional or verbal abuse can lead to anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more.

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