It's made me think again of the deeply entwined nature of sexual and verbal abuse. In both you have, typically (though by no means exclusively), a man wielding power over a woman for his own benefit. The words of a stronger man are forced on a woman just as his body is - often together.
Here's an excerpt (lightly edited) from an older post I wrote on the awful similarities between both kinds of abuse - He said - She said.
Men are designed to move towards their woman - their one woman, the one they have pledged their life to. They enter their world for their woman's benefit and not their own. Men do have have fruitful, life-giving words to bestow (note how often ‘seed’ and ‘word’ goes together in Scripture: Mark 4:14 ; 1 Cor 3:6; 1 Peter 1:23; James 1:21). The woman is to trust one man and one man only - the one who has pledged his life to her. She receives her man's approach to be blessed by his words....
In all this we see the parallel between sex and words...
A woman has commonly (I’m tempted to say, universally) been on the receiving end of soul-piercing death-words. And they have experienced them as violations in a way different to how men would experience those same words. Stronger men (often fathers) have used their strength to either shout down, belittle, intimidate, out-last or otherwise out-argue them. There are painful feelings of being bullied and disempowered associated with the words of men.
Don’t men have similar experiences of being silenced by the words of others? Yes. Are they painful? Yes. But my contention here is that women experience those pains deeper and more sharply. I could be wrong but that’s my contention.
Something that’s confirmed my suspicions has been hearing three different women speak about conversations with men. All three conversations happened in the last month. And all three women said that the words of the man stronglyreminded them of encounters with their fathers. “And it didn’t seem to matter what I said, he just kept on making his point… It reminded me so much of my dad – he was clearly in the wrong but he just kept going, bullying me with words. I was powerless, it made me so angry…“
And men for their part use words for their own benefit – not to give life but to self-please. This weekend I was away with a group of teenagers and youth leaders. My ears pricked up every time an older male ‘teased’ a younger female. There was a war of words (all in jest of course) and a truce was called only when the girl was exasperated, silenced and everyone had a good laugh. That was the dominant form of male-female communication over the weekend.
Which means, men can be horrendous abusers - and often are - without ever touching a woman. But when both kinds of abuse come together, the results are devastating.