Weapon of Choice

These Shocking Photos Show The Scars You Can’t Normally See. And They’re Horrifying.

Words have meaning, and they possess the power to change the world.  They can inspire us to do amazing things, or to commit the most  horrible acts.  It’s up to everyone to understand they are responsible for wielding that awesome power.  Because words cut the deepest, and yet leave no marks, they can truly be the most devastating form of abuse.

Photographer Richard Johnson, who has himself suffered from the worst kind of verbal abuse, created a series of photos to illustrate their incredibly harmful effect.  These images, created for the Weapon of Choice Project, are important because they remind us that the terms we throw out in moments of anger or frustration can be just as damaging as physical abuse.

CAUTION!: The photos below feature victims and strong terms of emotional, sexual and verbal abuse.

Weapon of Choice

We presented each participant in the Weapon of Choice project with a list of hurtful words, and we asked them to choose a word that had significance to them (some volunteered words we didn’t think of). You’ll discover as you explore the photographs in this project that there were very powerful words on our list, yet for the younger children who participated, the word they identified as the worst word, the word they were shy to say aloud — the word they only dared to whisper — was “stupid.” This surprised us, and it serves as good lesson that you never know what words may have the most devastating impact on children.

Weapon of Choice

Weapon of Choice

The idea behind the Weapon of Choice Project was to create a visual representation of the emotional damage words can do. World-class professional makeup artists generously donated their time to the project. The artists applied makeup to each participant to simulate an injury, and the hurtful word chosen by the participant was then incorporated. This participant, as a child, was victim of both verbal and physical abuse. The effects of the physical abuse, he said, have long since healed. The emotional scars from the verbal abuse, however, still remain.

Weapon of Choice

We discovered that much of the verbal abuse directed at women and teen-aged girls was sexual in nature. “Slut” was a word that far too many participants had encountered. “Slut” is more than a hurtful word, it is an accusation. It is meant not just to demean but also to ruin a reputation. Often it is a betrayal of trust. Just as verbal abuse if often closely tied to physical abuse, verbal abuse with sexual connotations can be closely tied to sexual abuse — ranging from internet revenge porn to sexual extortion to sexual battery. Stories involving this type of verbal abuse were often the most difficult for participants to tell.

Weapon of Choice

Weapon of Choice

Weapon of Choice

Weapon of Choice

Weapon of Choice

Most people with whom we have shared these images have had strong reactions. Many of the images make people feel uncomfortable. These photos are designed to make people feel uncomfortable because verbal abuse is an uncomfortable subject. Some have told us that viewing these photographs makes them feel somehow complicit in the violence. Once thing we learned while doing this project is that in almost all cases of abuse, there are three parties involved: the abused, the abuser, and a witness. Those who witness abuse but make no effort to stop it or report it are, in fact, complicit.

We often throw around terrible words and insults without giving them a second thought.  But take these photos as a reminder that what we say matters.  Verbal abuse is a real and serious problem that can destroy the lives of others.  Let these pictures be a reminder.

Source: HurtWords.com via ViralNova

Please share below


About Weapon of Choice:

The Weapon of Choice Project was conceived to provide a visual demonstration of the power of verbal abuse, and it is meant to provoke a conversation about the problems of domestic violence, child abuse, and bullying.

Advertisements

66 comments

  1. Reblogged this on The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel and commented:
    Tears have flowed as I read this and looked at the pictures. Words cut like a knife. The wounds of emotional and verbal abuse are very deep and I pray that more will come to realize that the wounds of abuse are still there, even though the damage may not be physically evident.

    Like

  2. What a powerful message. If we all wore our emotional scars on our face and body, would we be so hurtful to one another or would we pause and realize we are all vulnerable and abuse is a cycle? These pictures resonate with me, thank you for sharing.

    Like

  3. Physical. emotional, psychological, sexual abuse was my forte’ growing up. These brought back many painful memories but I’m glad you put them out there. It’s time people took their heads out of the sand. “It was a long time ago, get over it!” has been said to me many times. Thank you for sharing this important message to the world.

    Like

  4. Reblogged this on pen2paperblog and commented:
    I have reblogged this with the prayer that people will become aware that words can cut deeper than a knife and hopefully will not turn away when they read and view the pictures. Instead they will become a part of the solution to stop the abuse.

    Like

  5. This is powerful!! I wrote a 2 part a few months back on words and their consequences but these pics made it real. So damaging. Lord help us with each word we speak and how we say it. Thanks!!!

    Like

  6. Sadly many of these remarks are within their own family and not outsiders. Let us be the example of showing what true worth is by extending our love and grace and encouragement to the hurting, the lonely and the rejected.

    Like

  7. Reblogged this on Icedmocha34 and commented:
    This is so true. Our scars are on the inside, where no one can see them but where we hurt the most. Only God can take away those scars and labels and make us perfect in His sight.

    Like

  8. People who abuse other people often have these scars themselves. Life & death is in the power of the tongue those who love it will eat the fruit of it. We should speak blessings over ourselves, every day it’s what we say to ourselves that has been proven to work, not what others say (cursed over us). Anything others say over us can and is counteracted by what we say over ourselves. Build up your belief in yourself. God says that the curses men say to you fall back on themselves, and those things happen to them, NOT US. Truly, you have to build yourself up by speaking blessings over yourself every single day,every hour of the day, even several times an hour and in the mirror until your’e on your feet again. This has been proven to work, and it is too simple for some, and one sometimes like to punish oneself for whatever reason by not doing it, but if you do it, it will work.

    Like

  9. Powerful and very moving. I know this will change the words and actions of someone and make us all think before we speak, no matter what it is we want to say. Thanks for sharing.

    Be A Blessing!

    LaTrice

    Like

  10. This post makes me very angry because I know some many of us are ruthless with our thoughts. I’d like to punch whoever told this little girl (end) she was a mistake. Honestly. And I am not a violent person. But how will she grow up, knowing that someone considers her a mistake? I seriously makes me see red. But honestly none of these people should have experienced what they did. Powerful work by this photographer, look at the emotion and thought it has provoked.

    Like

  11. I looked at these pictures with tears in my eyes…i used to work with children from broken families and i know how deep are the scars left by abusive words. Long time ago i decided to only use words to heal and to bring light and love to people’s lives. This decision changed my own life…i learned not only that you can change a destiny in better using words, but also that changing the world starts deep inside our hearts…
    Thank you so much for following my blog, it means a lot to me and is honoring. Your articles touched my heart…Thank you for the Light you’re bringing to this world.
    Blessings,
    Carissa

    Like

  12. Powerful! I wish everyone would realize the damage they did if they could see the impact of their negative words. These pictures just bring out that message loud and clear. Would be great if there was a way to bring out the impact of positive words on others too and make people feel responsible for their words.

    Like

  13. Very effective way to portray the harm that stereotypical or name calling words can do to humans. Language can be a destructive beast when used improperly. Best wishes. Uldis.

    Like

  14. Reblogged this on Bits and Pieces and commented:

    This was so devastatingly powerful to me when I read it, I had to share, it cut thru me like a knife as I viewed some of these and really hit home on how these things affect people and children. Please note there are some VERY OFFENSIVE WORDS here that I do not condone, however the impact and reality of life make this an every day reality. I apologize ahead of time if this offends you.

    Like

  15. An amazing article. If people would only understand the true power contained in words. But when our leaders would rather resort to bombs than diplomacy, how do our children learn that REAL strength and power is found not in war, but in communication, and by extension, how do those same children learn that the amazing strength and power contained in communication can be used for both good and evil?

    Like

  16. Reblogged this on Vancouver Visions and commented:

    As a person who likes to both write, and take photographs, as well as being a person who endured precisely this type of abuse as a child, I just want to thank everyone involved with this article for bringing a very critical issue into focus. If by reblogging it on my own page, I can help spread the crucial message it contains to even one more person, then I consider it well worth the effort. My thanks again to all involved. As one of your subjects in the story so aptly put it, I feel like any physical damage I experienced when I was a child is adequately healed, and yet…those emotional scars still linger.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.