Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can cut like knives. Photographer Rich Johnson has created a series of images that try to visualise the wounds that verbal abuse can leave.
Called Weapon of Choice — to represent the abuser’s choice to use these words to harm — this project was a collaboration between photographer Johnson, make-up artists and victims of both verbal and physical abuse.
The images imply the verbal abuse is inextricably tied to physical abuse, because that is what Johnson found to be the case with many of his subjects.
“While listening to the stories from participants who had suffered abuse, we discovered how closely physical abuse followed verbal abuse,” he writes. “Where we found evidence of one, we found evidence of the other. When the abuser chose to inflict harm, verbal abuse was just one of the weapons in the arsenal.”