Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Amazing Public Verbal Abuse

From a recent article by Stefanie Scarlett in The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne.

We’ve all heard them: the couple who scream obscenities at each other in public, the overzealous parent who berates a child for failing to catch the ball during the big game.

The Center for Nonviolence in Fort Wayne defines violence as “any words or actions that hurt and control another, cause fear or make someone feel belittled or weak and powerless,” coordinator John Beams says.

It can take the form of blaming, criticizing, humiliating, name-calling, threatening or trivializing someone else as a way to gain control or exert power.

One of the more stunning media examples of verbal abuse came from Jonathan Baker and Victoria Fuller, a married couple who appeared on “The Amazing Race 6” this year and shocked other racers and fans with their ongoing and intense bickering. In the eyes of many viewers, Baker berated and blamed his wife for every problem they encountered, which left Fuller in tears more than once.

After the race, they were chastised on prime-time television by no less than Dr. Phil. The couple has said “The Amazing Race” didn’t portray their relationship accurately, that things weren’t nearly as bad as they seemed and that they were affected by the stress of competition.

They are still together – and are filming a reality show based on their post-“Race” experiences. Some might say it’s yet another example of undeserving people being rewarded for their bad behavior.

Of course, many of us will watch. Full story at


  1. not only is it rewarding bad behavior - it is NORMALIZING IT!!!

    See!! Everyone does it honey - its NORMAL part of a relationship!


  2. You know, I have to admire Dr. Phil for calling it. The problem for htat Amazing Race pair is that she doesn't recognize abuse yet--by the time she does, so mauch damage will be done, it will be difficult for her to stop being his target. It took me several years, yes becasue it escalated slowly and he didn't hit me) to realize he was not treating me right--AND i LET HIM GET AWAY WITH IT FOR YEARS! That was my doing, but like the article says, we are trained to be more nurturing and more yielding. If we forced them to treat us a a good as they do their best buddy--or their co-workers, we would save ourselves a lot of misery. thnaks Dawn for a great article--Thanks barbara for keeping a tab on these pages!

  3. Shelly - same with my estranged husband (or course my mother was VERY abusive to me also) so the abuse escalated slowly & no hitting - I was nurturing and thought it was normal "marital pains." While I am not a huge Dr. Phil fan, on occassion he does get it right. And also CBS should be shot for showing it but I guess it makes for GOOD TV, huh? blech

  4. I will not be one of those watching the reality show. For me, it would be endorcing the product. The fact is, that, TV shows are, for the most part, about money and entertaining. The producers put the show on the air to entertain us and to make money off the advertisers or sponsors. To me, this type of show is not entertaining, and I don't plan on supporting it by watching it and the commercials aired during it. This is my personal way of not sending a mixed message of, "Yes I'll watch it for the fun of it, but I don't condone the behavior"- sometimes we just have to ask ourselves if it is the right thing to do. Finally, I don't think our heavenly Father wants me to watch two human beings abuse each other.


    Rev. Steve Murray


Please be respectful in how you use language.