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  • ... when pain has been intertwined with love and closeness, it's very difficult to believe that love and closeness can be experienced without pain.

  • Whipping and abuse are like laudanum; you have to double the dose as the sensibilities decline.

  • A broken bone can heal, but the wound a word opens can fester forever.

  • I do not approve of children being beaten. It is always a confession of failure.

  • Words can bruise and break hearts, and minds as well. There are no black and blue marks, no broken bones to put in plaster cast, and therefore no prison bars for the offender.

  • A thousand kindnesses do not make up for a thousand blows.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • c. 1935, in Ruth Limmer, ed., Journey Around My Room ()
  • Few people who are hit once by someone they love respond in the way they might to a singular physical assault by a stranger.

    • Bell Hooks,
    • "violence in intimate relationships: a feminist perspective," Talking Back ()
  • It is a cowardly abuse of power to ill-treat a child.

  • ... I labored to obtain protection for unhappy wives, beaten, mangled, mutilated, or trampled on by brutal husbands. ... I came to the conclusion that in spite of all the authority in favor of flogging the delinquents it was not expedient on the women's behalf that they should be so punished, since after they had undergone such chastisement, however well merited, the ruffians would inevitably return more brutalized and infuriated than ever; and again have their wives at their mercy. The only thing really effective, I considered, was to give the wife the power of separating herself and her children from her tyrant.

  • [On lover Douglas Garman:] I don't see how he could have endured me so long. Once I was so awful to him that he slapped me hard in the face and then was so ashamed of himself that he burst into tears. ... Garman and I had a row about Communism and I got so bitchy that he hit me. I slipped and fell. There was blood everywhere.

  • I was once asked for my definition of living in sin. It's this: any two people living together while one dominates and tyrannizes the other are, to me, living in sin.

  • ... don't you hate that word? Victim? It immediately puts you on the losing side of a war you didn't even sign up for.

  • Humiliation is the sport of the petty.