Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Rhetoric & Comm Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Archana Pathak Bhatt


Verbal abuse occurs in college relationships, but this form of abuse lacks a clear definition and definitive characteristics. I studied the dialogue that surrounds verbal abuse. I was interested in how verbal abuse was discussed instead of the specific details of the experiences. Verbal abuse was purposely studied separately from physical abuse. Prior research and legal statutes were reviewed before conducting this study. Through the use of focus groups, one-on-one interviews and key informant interviews a broader perspective of verbal abuse was gained. The six salient themes to emerge were (1) how to protect one’s identity, (2) characteristics of the victim, (3) rationalizing the behavior, (4) the tipping point, (5) outside perspective and (6) breaking the pattern.