You might think you are not a victim of abuse since there is no physical violence involved. But this is where you’re wrong because verbal abuse is just as hurtful. Although abusers refrain themselves from using physical violence, they use other methods to attack and control their partners, such as criticizing, ignoring, manipulating, name-calling, sarcastic comments that mean to belittle you, and threatening.
For the most part, the only reason abusers hold back from using physical violence, is from the fear they’ll end up in jail, says Patricia Evans. But even if your partner only verbally abuses you, bear in mind that things can escalate pretty quickly and it’s better if you reach out to a friend, family member, and why not, a therapist.
Now, is verbal abuse considered a crime?! Well, this is where it gets complicated. Unfortunately, verbal and emotional abuse are not crimes, but Molly B. Kenny says Washington State has many laws that can be applied to cases of domestic verbal abuse. This, only if the threats are enough for others to believe and think your life is in danger, or else, the charges will not follow.
But keep in mind that verbal and emotional abuse might indicate future physical abuse, as we mentioned above. And if your partner is yelling, accusing and threatening you, don’t hesitate to ask for legal help.
Sadly, there’s little you can do when it comes to taking legal actions for verbal abuse. But not in France! Partners who insult and threat the other partner can face up to three years in jail and a €75,000 fine. The law was approved in 2010, thus making ‘psychological violence’ a crime. This law should be adopted in many other countries, if not worldwide.
According to Legal Resources, in many countries, if you want to take legal action for verbal abuse you must first convince the lawyer ‘the injuries to feelings are extensive and enough for them to pursue the issue.’ In other states, you can’t even file a claim for verbal assault if that’s the only ‘crime’ committed, even if you have a lawyer. Not every word used during the verbal attack can be considered grounds for verbal abuse. Unless the abuser uses threatening words that might indicate the victim is in danger.
Those who suffer the most from verbal, and every other form of abuse, are women. Actually, Laura Doyle claims only women are victims of verbal abuse. It may sound strange, but she says women are more likely to identify as verbal abuse victims, while men hardly ever use the term. This signifies that only men are abusers, or, they don’t want to admit they’re being abused.
While Patricia Evans, claims that “It’s still a male-dominated society” and then continues telling that from 45,000 people she has spoken to, unfortunately, 97% of them were women abused by their partners.
Women tend to make excuses for their partner’s behavior, refusing to admit they are exposed to abuse, and that is why they are more likely to be the victims. No matter what, don’t turn a blind eye on the abuse because this will only encourage your partner’s abusive behavior. There is also a very thin line between verbal abuse and normal arguments between a couple, a fact not many are aware of. Read here for more.
Verbal abuse leaves the victim emotionally worn out – all the more reason to never put up with this (not that you need one). Associate with people who support you during this hard time, and seek professional help. Verbal abuse often spirals to physical violence, therefore, you need to break the cycle before it’s too late.
See also: How To Stop Emotional Abuse In Marriage