Remember the saying 'sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.' This is the perception many have. Words are not important. There is no phyiscal damage so it can not hurt the person. Comments in schools about people being 'fat' or 'ugly' and it is just laughed at by everyone around. Jokes about rape and abuse - it doesn't matter, its only a joke - it won't hurt anyone. Gossip in the workplace which could hurt the other person but since it is only 'for fun' it doesn't matter. This attitude needs to change.
Words and negative comments can affect the victim just as much as physical abuse. Self-esteem is important. Without it, it is easier for a person to be depressed and can lead them to physically hurting themselves. I have seen it happen to friends. They are called fat and believe it - they now have an eating disorder. They are told they are not worth it - they begin harming themselves. It happens all the time in society but everyone looks for another issue. It can't be our fault that they feel that way and started SI. We are only joking... but maybe the person doesn't know that! Maybe they already had doubts about themselves and you have just confirmed it for them.
Think about your words. Do you want someone to be hurt just so you could have a joke to talk about in front of your friends and look 'cool'? We are meant to be kind and compassionate to all not put them down and joke about them behind their back or even in front of them which seems to be happening more and more!
Next time you see someone who looks a bit down or you know is often bullied or torn down by others, give them a compliment. Reach out to them. Help them to realise that they really are not the horrible things that they might hear said about them elsewhere. And if you ever feel like saying something negative about another person always remember:
For every critical comment we receive, it takes nine affirming comments to even out the negative effect in our life' ~ Jim Burns