We all have a variety of identities based on our race, class, gender, sexuality, religious beliefs, and more. No one identity is necessarily more important or relevant than the other, and everyone values certain facets of their identity to different degrees. While the individual experience of identity - how we identify ourselves - is personal and varied, the social experience of identity - how our society treats us based on our identities - often follows troubling patterns of discrimination and disadvantage. Sometimes, people can face multiple forms of discrimination toward different aspects of their identity - for example, a black woman can face both racism and sexism. The idea that people can experience multiple forms of discrimination and oppression toward multiple parts of their identity is called intersectionality.
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.