If you are only hit, from those who talk about physical abuse, your bruises and marks heal. When you are sexually, emotionally or verbally abused, the core of your existence is attacked and it takes a lifetime to pull yourself 90% together.
It [emotional/verbal abuse] is not worse or milder than sexual abuse. That is not my point. But any attacks upon a child's person, including her existence, including his right to breathe and live and eat, are abusive. Children must know they have bodily integrity and internal integrity, that no adult, or other child, has a right to attack the You of You.
This point is so important that I have to thank G Bitch Spot for making it.
What I find scary is when I see adults justifying emotional and verbal abuse by saying it will help motivate children to succeed. But making children think that nothing but perfection is acceptable, or regularly trampling on children's boundaries, does more than harm children's self image, it makes them vulnerable to exploitation. If children who are exploited are starved for positive interactions, they may blame themselves for what is done to them.