Are they the same thing? No. Can they be equally harmful? Yes. Singular events are harder to pinpoint, but we all know that mental abuse can cause long-term damage for the sufferer, it’s an established fact. So what is the question? Do hurt feelings need legal repercussions in order to be considered legit for the person experiencing them? And without legal punishment, does this mean that we are permitted to take less responsibility for the impact of our words, even when we know
that we are causing damage? …Do we really need
the threat of jail or lawsuit to treat each other respectfully?
No offense, but I think that's answering questions with questions isn't it?
That said, I suspect that this has much more to do with being on the receiving
end of damaging words rather than the above. How much we should each “buck up” in the face of someone insulting us
, and so on.
Um, I think you cannot have one without the other can you? I mean, you can't have an offended party without an offender...right? Or can you?
The 'highly dependent' is absolutely at the core of the matter, from my perspective. And I've been called plenty of foul names in my life as well as being on the recieving end of a physical assault or two. I know full well how hurtful verbal abuse can be as well as a broken bone ( that sometimes doesn't heal right ). Please don't think this is any kind of 'game'. But even with my experience, I am very, very, very concerned by the idea of someone who calls me an 'asshole' versus actually hitting me over the head with a brick, recieving the same punishment.
If it's at all possible, please divorce your emotions from this as much as possible at least knowing I'm trying to do the same and understand the difficulty.
OK..back again, because I think it's kind of hard to discuss something objectively if we're orienting everything through our own personal feelings. And maybe that doesn't make sense as written, and if not well, call me a shit writer and get it over with X-D I won't cry 'foul', I promise! But I might call 'fowl'....anyway...
Should the laws against attack on a persons body/property be different than an attack on their feelings and if you believe the law against, for instance, physical assault should carry the same punishment as any law that could be created against verbal assault ( because you believe verbal and physical assault are the 'same' ), do explain.
Imagine you're the judge. Are you going to mete out a prison sentence the same for a person who 'assaults' someone with their words as someone who assaults with their fists?
I'm just trying to figure out what has not been answered. If I hit you with a bat and break your arm I will, here in the states anyway, get a much different sentence than if I call you a Dumbass. Now, if we say that these two actions are equally hurtful...shouldn't they carry an equal punishment? Either they're equal or they're not. There's no having it both ways. Well, maybe in Utopia...
I admit I'm having a hard time understanding some of the answers to the original post here in contextual terms.
BTW, I'm also aware that Americas laws about these things are different than other countries. HOWEVER, I am in no way an international law expert. I appreciate Andrea that you mention Germany's law, for instance. It certainly could make this topic much more complex given we're all from various parts of the world. I know France, too, also has some laws against sexist or homophobic language. I don't know the details though, or if the punishment is the same for a sexist slur as it is for rape.