Verbal Abuse: Is It A Crime?

SS Member Image By drodriguez 01.19.10
Verbal Abuse:  Is It A Crime?

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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  • kydarling By kydarling

    Yes !!! Verbal abuse is just as bad as physical abuse...really it is worse...physical abuse the scars go away and verbal abuse they are always there......

  • MakeupGuru10 By MakeupGuru10

    Absoloutely without question, verbal abuse can be just as dangerous as physical abuse when an individual is repeatedly exposed to negative verbal comments. One of the most common things we hear of is what is called "Battered Woman Syndrome", which despite common belief does not solely apply to women exposed to physical abuse. A women who is constantly critisized and possibly threatened can one day "snap" and kill their abuser. In our legal system this is an acceptable defense very closely related to "self-defense".

  • ThatsRiiiite By ThatsRiiiite

    I totally agree verbal abuse is just as abusive as physixal... It does the same emotional damage ans physical if not more.When someone tells you something u think about it over and over again.

  • SheSpeaks4u By SheSpeaks4u

    The theory is a very much needed solution to an old, ongoing problem, however I'd have to agree that it would surely take long, drawn out, creative evidence-gathering for effective prosecution. I suffer this abuse weekly, though I left the abuser for seven months and came back, just as we abused women are often convinced to do. It is truly a control issue with him, though I refuse to give in to his demands, so he ridicules me to tears and constantly bad mouths me to his friends and family. Because I'm both private and extremely embarrassed I don't tell, but would feel great knowing there was an option and that someone cared and could do something about it. It's definitely worth the effort to enact the law.

  • waternymff By waternymff

    i think this kind of abuse is underestimated because all other kinds of abuse just a result. i agree that government should pay much more attention to it.

  • Courti By Courti

    Through out my life I have been exposed to both physical and verbal abuse... I got over the physical effects but the verbal abuse is an ongoing thing that I work with every single day..PS kudos to my wonderful therapist

  • Jbledsoe22 By Jbledsoe22

    I think that verbal abuse is the worst type of absue. I looked at it tis way. A black eye will heal and you can put the incident in the back of your mind. But when someone belittles you it seems to be harder for you to put that in the back of your mind.

  • Jewels2799 By Jewels2799

    I think this is a great idea. Sometimes verbal abuse is even more damaging than physical. You don't just heal in a few days from the effects. I know that I myself can say that I am affected mentally 20 years later from verbal abuse in my past.

  • SiLvEr-StArS By SiLvEr-StArS

    Think It could be a good idea to help the people the truly need and want the help! And Yes just like phyiscal, emotional abuse, verbal abuse is no diff'.

  • mdist7 By mdist7

    Finally!!!! Verbal abuse can be as damaging as physical abuse alot of the time. You may not have the physical scars, but emotional and psychological scars very often never go away. I think it's time for more than just France to step up and call abuse ABUSE!! Unfortunately, trying to enforce it here would be a nightmare, as too many people take advantage of and misuse the system, so when some of us really need it, we're not taken seriously. So sad~

  • cheescakelady By cheescakelady

    I believe that it would be good to have a law for this, that said, you have to: 1) People in law enforcement that are willing to enforce the law. 2) Education for the abused people.. How to recognize, prove, prevent, to get free, record & report verbal abuse. Usually these people come from families that are controlling & verbally abusive and think this is normal. Verbal abuse is not always vicious, vile, or vulgar. Verbal abuse can be very subtle and sneaky, used to control the person in question. When you choose not to allow verbal abuse, it can lead to : 1) Abandonment and isolation from family and friends 2) escalation to physical abuse 3) empowerment, if you walk away Empowerment is when you set boundaries and move on to healthy relationships. This requires having a healthy support group or the stamina to find one. Most people are not willing to invest time in people that have been emotionally scarred.

  • acornell2 By acornell2

    I think this is a good idea in principle, but enforcing it will be a nightmare. Not to mention it will likely open up the floodgates of people who can easily misuse this type of law to suit their own purposes.

  • idahospud By idahospud

    I was a victim of both.They are both horrible.Bruises heal,the heart does not.

  • jessj29 By jessj29

    Verbal Abuse can cause serious problems for its victims. I especially think it is horrible when a parent abuses a child. I think it should definitely be illegal, I know a woman who constantly verbally abuses her husband and children. I always wish there was someone I could report her to, but since verbal abuse does not leave visable scars I would need her to be caught in the act.

  • sharman421 By sharman421

    France is definitely on top of it. No one should have to deal with abuse of any kind. Often one thing leads to another. If one is capable of verbally abusing and degrading a spouse, physical abuse may not be far behind. It is all a control thing. And what of verbal and psychological abuse to children? I have been in public places and heard the most vile things said to little ones! Anywhere from name calling to threats to vicious and vulgar language! If a law was in place, the public could call these parents on it and help the victims.

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