The Brave Participants

The Weapon of Choice Project would not have been possible without the bravery of the participants that volunteered to be a part of the campaign. By sharing their own stories of verbal abuse and hurt words, they are sure to help others who have experienced something similar, showing victims that they are not alone in feeling how they do. If others can get through their experience of verbal abuse, and be strong enough to take part in the campaign, then current victims can too. Find out more about some of the experiences of hurt words used against victims below:



'Slut'
A high percentage of the verbal abuse experienced by teenage girls and women, was of a sexual nature, and 'slut' was an insult many of the volunteers had experienced. This word is not just an insult, it is meant to demean, and to blemish a woman's reputation, making her seem undesirable to other women, and as an object to men. Verbal abuse of a sexual nature is often closely linked to physical sexual abuse. Perhaps for this reason the women who were verbally insulted in a sexual nature, found their stories particularly hard to tell.



'Stupid'
We may have all been guilty of calling someone 'stupid' at one point or another, without realising how damaging it can be. This word had a profound affect on the children who had participated in the project, causing them a great deal of shame and embarrassment. Some poor children could only whisper the word, such was the power this insult had over them. It just goes to show, that you can never know the devastating impact, a seemingly harmless jibe, can have on children.



'Trash'
During the process of creating the photo project, from the victim's stories, it became apparent that the verbal abuse they experiences, was often closely followed by physical abuse. The two seemed to go hand in hand – verbal abuse was used as another weapon to harm a victim, just like physical abuse is. An abuser harms their victim both physical and emotionally, which can leave them worthless and deserving of the abuse. One of the participants was painted with the word 'trash', was often called “less than trash” by her abuser, something that must have has a profound impact on her feelings of self-esteem and self-worth.