can be just as bad as physical
if not worse
"For every person in this society who is suffering physical abuse, there are
hundreds suffering the effects of verbal violence. For every person who just
got a fist in the face, there are hundreds who just took a verbal blow to the
The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense by Suzette Haden Elgin.
I was in a library researching something else, when this book's title jumped
right out at me. I took it home and read it, and I'm glad I did. Later, I
went out and bought it and the third book (haven't found the second one yet).
It's sort of a form of verbal Tae-Kwon-Do.
I strongly suggest you read at least the first book. I will endeavor here to
give an overview of some of the things she covers...
Physical vs. Verbal
"(A) physical attack is at least obvious and unmistakable; when someone slugs
you physically, you can call the police. The physical attack hurts horribly
and leaves a mark, but it is usually over fast, and the mark is evidence in
your favor and against your attacker."
"Verbal violence is a very different matter. Except in rare cases--for
example, when someone lies about you publicly before witnesses and can be
charged with slander--there is no agency that you can call for help. The
pain of verbal abuse goes deep into the self and festers there, but because
nothing shows on the surface, it will not win you even sympathy, much less
"Worst of all, verbal violence all too often goes unrecognized, except at
a level that you cannot even understand yourself. You know that you are
suffering, and you vaguely know where the pain is coming from; but because
the aggression is so well hidden, you are likely to blame yourself instead
of the aggressor..."
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