What To Do Legally If Someone Verbally Abuses You?


If someone’s words are hurting and ultimately making you feel bad for a long time, making you overthink, or question yourself, it might be verbal abuse.

It is important to identify verbal abuse and take steps against it. There are legal remedies that are available to everyone against verbal abuse. Often, verbal abuse is taken lightly and told to let go, but it is high time that it is addressed. It can be just as harmful as physical abuse, as it has the capacity to turn into psychological abuse that could have a long-lasting impact on an individual.

Various Forms Of Verbal Abuse

Using words to denigrate, threaten, terrify, intimidate, or dominate someone else is known as verbal abuse. This might involve using explicit language abusively, including yelling, screaming, or swearing. These actions are power plays, with the intention of subduing you through intimidation and control. It is therefore abusive and ought not to be accepted or justified, but verbal abuse may sometimes be far more subdued. Verbal abuse victims frequently wonder if what they're going through is indeed abusive. They also question if it really makes a difference.

Forms Of Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse can occur in a variety of ways, such as:

Blaming: This kind entails persuading the victim that they are to blame for the abusive actions or that they initiated the verbal abuse.

Condescension: Sarcastic remarks that aim to minimize and denigrate the other person might be considered verbal abuse, even if they frequently pass for humor.

Criticism: This includes unkind and persistent comments that are intended to make the target feel awful about themselves. These comments are not helpful; rather, they are cruel and purposeful.

Humiliation: It can be very hurtful to be insulted in public by a friend, family member, dating partner, or fellow student.

Judging: When someone abuses someone verbally, they may look down on them, reject them for who they are, or hold them to unreasonable standards.

Laughter: People who abuse their words usually try to make you the focus of their jokes.

Threats: These are words intended to intimidate, subdue, and coerce the target into cooperating.

Withholding: When someone engages in this kind of verbal abuse, they refuse to show you love or attention by conversing with you, looking at you, or even just being in the same room as you.

Insults And Name-Calling

Insults can be of various types, but mostly they are demeaning to the other person in some way or another, in regard to their appearance, career, choices, decisions, or anything at all. The insults can usually cause the other person to question their self-esteem itself, which in turn has the capacity to become mental abuse as well, especially when done with such an intention.

Name-calling is when people give insulting and demeaning phrases and names to an individual in order to bully them and cause them to feel discomfort. Mostly these are related to the individual’s insecurities and targeted to make them feel bad.

Gaslighting And Manipulation

A type of psychological abuse known as "gaslighting" involves someone making another person doubt their memory, sanity, or sense of reality. When someone is gaslighted, they might feel uneasy, confused, or un-trusting of themselves.

The act of manipulating someone else by unfair or deceptive means—usually for one's own benefits, is known as manipulation. In order to establish an imbalance of power, manipulators target their targets' mental and emotional faculties.

Workplace Bullying And Discrimination

The frequent, unfavorable treatment of an individual by one or more coworkers is known as workplace bullying, and it may be regarded as unjustified and improper behavior. It encompasses actions that, perhaps in front of coworkers, clients, or customers, intimidate, insult, denigrate, or humiliate an employee.

When someone's dignity is damaged, or they are treated differently than others because of a protected trait, it is discrimination. This can encompass things like age, language, social origin, ethnic origin, race, sex, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, handicap, and other statuses. Direct and indirect forms of discrimination include harassment, insufficient accessibility, and directives to practice discrimination.

Cyberbullying And Online Harassment

The use of technology to harass, threaten, shame, or attack another individual is known as cyberbullying. Threats made online as well as nasty, combative, or nasty texts, tweets, posts, or communications all qualify. Posting private images, videos, or other content with the intention of hurting or embarrassing someone else also counts.

The use of information and communication technology by an individual or group to intentionally injure another person on a regular basis is known as online harassment. Threats, shame, or disgrace in an online environment might be part of this.

Every aspect of life, including relationships, career success, and academic achievement, can be negatively impacted by verbal abuse. Verbal abuse has both immediate and long-term repercussions, just like any other type of abuse or bullying, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Persistent stress
  • Diminished sense of self-worth
  • Embarrassment, remorse, and hopelessness
  • PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Social disengagement and seclusion
  • Drug abuse

Intense verbal abuse can affect a person's ability to regard themselves as successful in any aspect of their life. Those who are verbally abused as youngsters may grow up to feel unworthy, find it hard to trust people, and struggle to control their emotions.

Can I Take Legal Action Against Verbal Abuse?

YES! You can take legal action against verbal abuse. It is important to understand that verbal abuse is also abuse, and it should not be taken lightly, or given leeway. Verbal abuse can be extremely harmful as well.

Relevant Sections Of Indian Laws Of Verbal Abuse

It's critical to understand your legal rights and what steps you may take if someone uses derogatory words or threatens you during a disagreement.

Under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), you have the right to submit a First Information Report (FIR) at your local police station if someone uses derogatory or vulgar language towards you or makes threats to harm you. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) specifically lists verbal abuse as a crime under Section 294. If you decide to report the offense to the police, legal action will be taken, and the perpetrator will usually be fined instead of imprisoned.

You must notify the authorities right away if the disagreement gets to the point where someone is threatening to kill you. Making threats to murder someone is a serious crime that carries a maximum seven-year jail sentence, as stated in Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code. In these situations, a report is sent straight to the magistrate. It's crucial to remember that the accused may be able to post bail, but the legal process will still go forward.

Further, Section 268 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, states that anybody who acts or does not do something that ultimately causes a common pain or annoyance to the public at large will be charged with producing a public nuisance. Therefore, anyone who uses profanity in a public setting is subject to legal repercussions under this section as they are upsetting the nearby residents.

Moving on to Section 354 of the Indian Panel Code, 1860, anybody who attacks or uses criminal force against a woman with the intent to offend her or knowing that doing so will certainly offend her modesty faces both jail time and a fine.

The following are examples of wanton violations: an egregious breach of the law or decency; anything that incites anger or insolence; passionate or violent behavior or language; subjecting someone to extreme violence or indignity; anger or offense; shock; a gross or shameless offense against right, decency, feelings, etc.; and raping a woman.

Being modest and relating to women as "womanly propriety of behavior, scrupulous chastity of thought, speech, and conduct" are the definitions of modesty. It should go without saying that insulting a lady or mentioning her by name or in any other way will infuriate her modesty. Although the Code does not define modesty precisely, it is commonly associated with a woman's dignity, respect, and reputation; hence, any words or actions that diminish a woman's dignity can and ought to be punished.

Further, Sections of the IPC, like Section 503, Section 504, and Section 509, state punishment for criminal intimidation, intentional insult that could provoke a breach of peace, and word, gesture, or act that insults a woman's modesty, respectively.

Legal Recourse Available To Victims

Legal interventions, which encompass both the criminal and civil justice systems, are primarily focused on identifying cases to bring abusers, procedural and evidentiary problems during criminal prosecutions, the formation of arrest policies, civil orders regarding security, and admissibility of evidence rather than the availability of direct services to victims. While many believe that legal interventions play a significant role in addressing abuse, this approach is less reliable when it comes to people's choices. However, assessments of the efficacy of legal interventions face challenges that are similar to those encountered in the social service and health care sectors: small study populations, moral and legal dilemmas regarding the application of experimental designs and the reporting of found abuse, strict confidentiality laws, unintended consequences of the research project, and consequently the complications of independent variables in multiple and overlapping interventions.

Steps To Take When Faced With Verbal Abuse

There are legal actions you may take in India to defend yourself and seek justice if you are the victim of verbal abuse. The actions you can do are as follows:

  1. Recognize What Qualifies as Verbal Abuse: There are many different ways that verbal abuse can be expressed, such as through insults, threats, harassment, or disparaging comments directed at you. Understanding when verbal behavior veers into abuse is crucial.
  2. Gather Evidence: Provide as much accurate documentation as you can on the verbal abuse episodes. Note the dates, times, and places where the abusive behavior occurs. Attempt to get witnesses who can verify what you say.
  3. Contact Local Authorities: Make a complaint by going to the local police station if you feel endangered or intimidated. A number of sections of the Indian Penal Code, including Section 504 (intentional insult with purpose to incite breach of peace) and Section 509 (word, gesture, or act designed to offend the modesty of a woman), make verbal abuse punishable by law.
  4.  File a Complaint: Using all pertinent information and proof of the verbal abuse you have experienced, file a formal complaint with the police. The police will launch an investigation and implement the necessary measures.
  5.  Seek Legal Aid: To learn about your rights and alternatives, think about getting legal counsel. In addition to helping you file a complaint and, if required, defend yourself in court, a lawyer may help you navigate the legal system.
  6.  Take into Account Getting a Restraining Order: If verbal abuse is serious, you might want to file for a restraining order, which is sometimes referred to as a protection order or a stay-away order. The abuser may be deterred from contacting or approaching you by this legal document.
  7. Take Legal Action: You may take additional legal action if the verbal abuse gets worse or persists. This might entail bringing a lawsuit for harassment, slander, or other pertinent offenses against the abuser in court.
  8.  Check in with the authorities: Maintain contact with the police and inquire about the status of your report. Making sure the authorities are responding to the issue appropriately is crucial.
  9.  Remain Safe: Take precautions to keep yourself safe if you think that your safety is at jeopardy. This might entail altering your daily schedule, looking for temporary housing, or adopting any other required safety measures.


Now that you know what the forms of verbal abuse are and how toxic they can actually be, it is advised that you take emotional support from your loved ones during this time and also make sure that you take legal steps against the abuser to stop this from happening.

Being aware of how to deal with situations is good, but at the same time, we advise you to seek professional legal help for tailored advice and steps in your individual subjective case.