This week we have been discussing verbal abuse — whether it is a crime in Washington State, what constitutes verbal abuse, and how verbal abuse is often one of the first warning signs of future domestic violence. 

Three Types of Verbal Abuse

In this blog post, let’s break down the three main categories of verbal abuse and why they are harmful:

  • Name-calling – If your partner insults you, overly criticizes you, swears at you, degrades you, or bullies you, you may be the victim of verbal abuse. Being called names based on your appearance, your race, you gender, or you religion is unacceptable and emotionally harmful. In many cases, name-calling is the first type of verbal abuse to surface after the beginning of a relationship.
  • Shouting and yelling – When someone raises his or her voice at you, it can be frightening, belittling, and threatening. Even though we all argue from time to time with our spouse, yelling, shouting, and profanity are often abusive and unhealthy.
  • Threats of harm – Threats of violence and physical harm aren’t just extreme examples of verbal abuse — they are also against Washington State law. If your spouse says, “I’m going to kill you,” or “I’m going to make you pay,” you are in a dangerous situation and should seek immediate help.

It is somewhat rare for domestic violence charges to include charges of verbal assault (such as a harassment or disorderly conduct charge). However, it is extremely important for everyone to understand that verbal abuse often goes hand-in-hand with physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.  If you have been the victim of any of the above types of abuse, you may wish to speak with a Washington family law attorney about your case. To schedule a consultation at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, call today at 425-460-0550.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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