The Public Response to the Weapon of Choice Project

When the images from the Weapon of Choice Project were released in 2014, they elicited a huge public response from both victims and other members of the public. The project had an impact in a number of ways, which has helped to spread the campaign against verbal abuse, as well as making more people aware of the negative effects of insults.

Response from Victims

It was clear from the response from past and current victims of verbal abuse, that the project really created an accurate representation of the pain they have gone through. Many victims got in touch to say that they felt like their pain and suffering had been legitimized by the project. They no longer felt like they were wrong to feel internal pain from their abuse – their invisible injuries are just as valid as physical scars. All victims of verbal abuse should know that.

The Weapon of Choice Project has made so many people aware that words can hurt just as much as a punch or a kick. Some victims responded, that they would rather have been beaten, than have to suffer the deep emotional wounds that come from persistent emotional abuse. Physical wounds will gradually feel less painful, and even heal over time, whereas emotional scars can last a lifetime.

Response from Schools

Both pupils and teachers were moved by the project, with teachers from around the globe asking to use the Weapon of Choice images, in their schools to open up a conversation about bullying. Furthermore, many students took it upon themselves to use the powerful photographs in their presentations, to educate their fellow pupils on the devastating impact of verbal abuse and bullying.

It is inspiring to know that children themselves have become more aware of the effects of verbal bullying, and have seen the need to spread this message further.

Response for and from Children

Before the project was released, many parents were probably unaware of the effect their words had on their children. They may have not even known that sometimes they could be edging towards verbal abuse, being completely unaware of the potential emotional damage they are doing to their children. Directors of programs got in touch to say that they were using images in the likes of anger management classes, and even at exhibitions and film festivals, so adults and parents could see the effects of verbal abuse. Seeing photographs of children, scarred by words is an effective way of showing that verbal abuse is significantly harmful to children.

One of the hopes of this campaign, is that these images will reduce the incidences of verbal abuse against children, but it has also given hope to children who have experienced abuse. Hopefully, they will see that they can break the cycle of abuse, and move on to a healthier future.