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Abuse, Harassment, and Assault

Updated/Revised Date: 3rd Feb 2023
Author: Sexual Diversity | Contact:
Additional References: Physical and Verbal Abuse Publications

Synopsis: Definitions, news, and articles regarding various forms of physical and verbal abuse, assault, and harassment.

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Abuse can occur in many forms, such as:

Verbal Abuse

(Verbal aggression, verbal attack, verbal violence, verbal assault, psychic aggression, or psychic violence) is a psychological/mental abuse that involves the use of oral, gestured, and written language directed to a victim. Verbal aggression can be defined as a characteristic or trait that drives a person to attack the self-values and concepts of others in addition to, or instead of, their values and concepts.

Physical Abuse

Defined as any intentional act causing injury, trauma, bodily harm, or physical suffering to another person by bodily contact. An assault is illegally committing physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person or, in some specific legal definitions, a threat or attempt to commit such an action. In most cases, children are the victims of physical abuse, but adults can also be victims, such as domestic violence or workplace aggression. Alternative terms sometimes used include physical assault or physical violence and may also include sexual abuse. Physical abuse may involve more than one abuser and more than one victim.

Sexual Abuse

Sex abuse, also referred to as molestation, is abusive sexual behavior by one person upon another. It is often perpetrated using force or by taking advantage of another. Sexual abuse is a forced sexual encounter of any type. This includes intercourse, inappropriate touching (even through clothing), and forced kissing when you don't desire it.

Emotional Abuse

Psychological abuse includes blaming, accusing, and restricting your freedom - like preventing you from using the phone or talking to family members, recording the mileage on your car to see if you've driven somewhere 'not allowed,' or attempting to confuse you mentally (Gaslighting). Blaming, shaming, and name-calling are a few verbally abusive behaviors that can affect a victim emotionally. The victim's self-worth and emotional well-being are altered and even diminished by verbal abuse, resulting in an emotionally-abused victim.


The word harassment covers a wide range of behaviors of offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behavior that demeans, humiliates, or embarrasses a person, and its unlikelihood characteristically identifies it in terms of social and moral reasonableness. In the legal sense, these are behaviors that appear to be disturbing, upsetting, or threatening. Traditional forms evolve from discriminatory grounds and have the effect of nullifying a person's rights or impairing them from benefiting from their rights. When these behaviors become repetitive, it is defined as bullying. The continuity or repetitiveness and the distressing, alarming, or threatening aspect may distinguish it from insult.

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Latest Physical and Verbal Abuse Publications

The above information is from our reference library of material relating to Physical and Verbal Abuse that includes:

Neuroscientific Evidence Important for Rape Trials thumbnail image.
Victims of sexual assault are often blamed for not fighting or fleeing their attackers and 70% report being frozen during the ordeal, and unable to move or cry out.
Publish Date: 23rd May 2023 - Updated: 8th Oct 2023
Online Hate Speech Often Hidden in Plain Sight thumbnail image.
Research reveals scale of online hate speech may be worse than previously thought due to implicit ways some content is phrased.
Publish Date: 3rd Feb 2023
Moderate Intoxication Does Not Impair Sexual Assault Recall thumbnail image.
Women can recall details of sexual assault and rape with accuracy, even if they have drunk, or expected to drink, moderate amounts of alcohol.
Publish Date: 1st Feb 2023 - Updated: 3rd Feb 2023

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• (APA): (2023, February 3). Abuse, Harassment, and Assault. Retrieved April 13, 2024 from

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