Verbal Abuse: Is It A Crime?

   By drodriguez  Jan 19, 2010

Abusive relationships are not uncommon in any culture.  Whether it be physical, emotional, or both, women are many times the victims of domestic abuse.  Bruises and scars may be more obvious when a woman is being physically mistreated at home, but the inner scars women suffer in verbally abusive relationships can be just as detrimental to their health.  Not only are these psychologically abused women suffering in silence, but there is little in the way of legal action that they can do about it.  One country plans to change this.


France is set to become the first country to outlaw psychological abuse in relationships.  A recent article from Time magazine reports that France is expected to introduce a bill that will ban "conjugal abuse of a psychological nature."  Supporters of the bill, including President Nicolas Sarkozy, feel that if they can target verbal and mental abusers they can put a stop to any physical abuse before it ever begins. 

Domestic abuse is a definite problem within France.  Government statistics show that 157 women and 7 men died as a result of domestic violence just last year.  Prime Minister Francois Fillon talks about why passing this bill will be essential to minimize domestic abuse when he says, "It’s an important move forward, because the creation of this offense will let us tackle the most insidious situations - the ones that leave no physical scars but which still injure the victims inside." 

Though most agree that repetitive verbal abuse is damaging and cruel to the victim, many wonder how this kind of abuse can be proven in a court of law.  Supporters of the bill argue that just passing the law will give victims of psychological abuse the confidence to put an end to it.  And, though difficult, there are ways to collect evidence in such cases if one were to put their mind to it. 

What do you think of the new bill being introduced in France to outlaw psychological abuse in relationships?

Do you think the U.S. should consider adopting such a bill?

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Dnysgrl04 by Dnysgrl04 | BEEBE, AR
Apr 13, 2012

This is great! I was in an abusive relationship for 4 1/2 yrs. He would get physical but it was mainly verbal. There were many times when I wished that he had hit me. Reason one is because then people would believe me, if they can't see it then they don't believe it. Reason two is because the bruises go away, words last for years. I left in 2003 and I still "hear" him at times. I have a wonderful boyfriend now that is the complete opposite of my ex. I hope this bill is introduced here too. We need it.

my4babies by my4babies | ORLAND PARK, IL
Oct 20, 2010

But I do believe that when it comes to children, whom do not have the option to leave the person who is abusing them, that all abuse should be punishable by law including verbal.

my4babies by my4babies | ORLAND PARK, IL
Oct 20, 2010

I was in an abusive relationship for 8 years of my life. From 17-25 I suffered through mostly verbal and mental abuse but he also broke my shoulder on one occasion. It affected my life greatly. I think this is an OK idea but there really is no way to prove it unless they get a tape-recorder and the victim would still have to want to leave and get help. Also in a way this does impose on free speech. How can someone face criminal charges for something they say. I think that this should be left for the civil courts to handle with lawsuits instead if criminal charges. If they start doing this where will it end what will become illegal next. Are right to an opinion. Think about it.

gretchenfarricker by gretchenfarricker | Charlotte, NC
Oct 14, 2010

Just as SheSpeaks4U said, I too am in an abusive relationship where I am physically, emotionally, mentally, verbally and financially abused on a daily basis. The only time that things are, if you want to call it, OK, are when he gets exactly what he wants and I am not around. Usually alcohol is involved, but that still doesn't excuse his actions. I really wish that there was a law that was passed to not allow for the mental and verbal abuse to be ignored. I believe that if we were to stop this abuse dead in it's tracks, that it would prevent alot of problems from occurring, such as physical abuse and/or even suicide. I know that the scars from being beaten go away alot faster than the emotional scars that are still remaining to this day from 4 years ago. I don't know if they will ever go away.

lizomatic by lizomatic | orlando, FL
Feb 03, 2010

this bill should definately be adopted by the us.. it is incredible what people can get away with these days.. i also was a victim of domestic violence and the damage that was done to me was more mentally than any other... i honestly belived i was worthless with out him it took a lot of me to finally go to the authorities... now its been five years and i couldnt be happier... i wish this would of been around when my incident happened though. =/

ppeck214 by ppeck214 | jacksonville, FL
Jan 30, 2010

I too have been a victim of both and lucky to be alive and was able to get out of the abuse and I think it would be great to have a law here in the USA.

pickles1974 by pickles1974 | woodhaven, MI
Jan 28, 2010

I also have mixed emotions about this bill, but on the other hand...physical abuse often starts with verbal abuse. If we knock the verbal abuse out then it can only help reduce actual physical abuse! It's all just wrong to hurt someone that you love in any way!

laughoutlouder by laughoutlouder | Garrett, IN
Jan 28, 2010

I agree with most of the people on hear, verbal abuse is just as effective as mental and phsyical, it may not hurt on the outside but it hurts very much on the inside. Now for a bill to be passed, thats a little much, words are spoken to let people show emothion or feeling and to curse them thats wrong, but i dont agree in anyway to use verbal ABUSE in anyway shape or form...

cybrown551 by cybrown551 | HOOKSETT, NH
Jan 28, 2010

In my opinion not only are women affected by verbal abuse but also children are affected by verbal abuse as well. And I have missed emotions about this bill because it's so vague and so broad that it could be abused. There would have to be a lot of guidelines that would need to be put in place for this to be an effective bill.

Rooster111 by Rooster111 | Deltona, FL
Jan 28, 2010

This type of abuse deteriorates,and scars the person on recieving end. It gives a sense of power & domination to the abuser. It should be a crime, because it is one ! Physical, Mental, and Verbal abuse is an evil circle that can become a prison without a door. I pray more people will be held accountable for this abuse, and the abused will have a better options/help to remove theirselves from this cycle.

2christophers by 2christophers | Carmel, NY
Jan 28, 2010

Maybe it will give some women the courage to seek help, knowing that they are not alone. I believe that education and exposure will help bring the silent suffering that many endure, (especially with verbal abuse)out into the open.

arbymomma by arbymomma | milwaukee, WI
Jan 27, 2010

I think it should be emplemented in the US. I endured both physical and emotional abuse and it took me years to get over the emotional. I read a comment from someone else that bruises heal but the heart doesn't, bruises do heal and so does the heart but it takes much longer to do so. When you spend to long with a person telling you that you are worthless among other things, it starts to set in and u believe it. We all need to remind ourselves that everyone is worth something no matter how big or small and that abuse is not love whether emotional or physical. Personally I would much rather have a hug and kiss than a punch or verbal name calling.

AlexLogan by AlexLogan | Taylor, MI
Jan 27, 2010

I think that so many people blame everyone else for their problems and need to take their actions seriously but this may scratch out what i just said i believe you are a product of your enviorment and that plays a big role on how people whill treat and respect you in life if you dont change a negative issue!!!

2beckie by 2beckie | La Plata, MO
Jan 27, 2010

I can relate to the cycle of abuse. The emotional abuse lasts far longer than the physical. Time and time again of listening to the verbal degrading slowly takes a toll on ones self esteem and the way one views their self-worth. This is absolutely unacceptable behavior that plagues millions.

sbechlem by sbechlem | Elkhart, IN
Jan 27, 2010

I have been on the end of physical, mental, and sexual abuse. They are all extremely painful, but my physical wounds have healed and I am still 3 years later working on the mental and emotional pain he caused me. In my case the mental, verbal, and emotional abuse was the gateway to the other abuse. If the verbal abuse can be stopped then maybe the rest wont ever even happen.