When Does Speech Become Violence?
The words people choose and how they’re delivered have weight. If they are aimed at an individual personally with the intent of tormenting that person, that speech is a form of violence. Hate speech can have physical ramifications affecting the nervous system. Content and its delivery can result in physical illness and alter brain mechanisms, crippling us emotionally.
When Words are Meant to Bully
When one is exposed to hateful speech for long stretches of time, the body has difficulty coping with being in a toxic environment. This can eventually lead to “telomere attrition.” Telomeres are parts of our cells associated with cellular aging, the immune system, and may influence bone density in women.
Telomeres naturally shorten as the body ages. However, chronic stress accelerates shrinkage of telomeres, potentially resulting in the onset of disease and poor overall health.
Is Yelling Violent Speech?
Speech is offensive and extremely hurtful when it takes the form of emotional abuse. Harmful speech has a way of working through a person’s nerves and triggering past trauma. Hollering, especially in a frightening or intimidating manner, further escalates negative effects. Consider abuse of a child: Repeated outbursts of screaming hamper children’s coping skills, reduce their confidence in social situations, and can cause emotional difficulties and/or behavioural issues.
If you are on the receiving end of hateful speech, how do you protect yourself from emotional wounds and gradual physical damage? Professional counsellors can help. If you are in immediate physical danger, remove yourself from the situation right away and seek legal aid.
To heal from abuse, be it physical, emotional, or verbal, seek the assistance of a caring, qualified therapist. Depression and Relationship Counselling Services is here to help. Talk to Wendy Limarzi today at (519) 253-1519.