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OU student to present research on verbal abuse at MCA conference

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
OU student to present research on verbal abuse at MCA conference
By Katie Land, news editor

Oakland University’s Alice Carleton will take the first step toward generating public awareness for verbal abuse victims this November, when she presents at the Michigan Counseling Association’s upcoming conference.

Her presentation, “Society's Hidden Pandemic: Verbal Abuse, Precursor to Physical Violence and a Form of Biochemical Assault,” will take place at 2:45 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5, at the Troy Marriott Hotel.

“Verbal abuse has been going on since time began, but it didn’t technically “exist” until the 1980s. No one named it or studied it before then,” Carleton said. “The dynamics of verbal abuse are prevalent in society. Everywhere you look there is bullying in schools, on TV sitcoms, on the Internet. It is all verbal abuse. My mission in life is to reach the widest audience I can to discuss this issue.”

Carleton, a longtime Oakland employee who currently works in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, is also working toward her Bachelor’s of Social Work degree.

Carleton’s presentation grew from an academic research paper that examines the findings of Dr. Martin Teicher, associate professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Ben Reis, director of the Predictive Medicine Group at Harvard Medical School, who have both conducted research into the physical toll and health effects that result from verbal abuse.

A survivor of abuse, Carleton hopes to take her story and message to the national level. Currently, one in three women worldwide are living in abusive situations, she said.

“It is something I have lived through,” Carleton continued. “When I began to read and research verbal abuse, I finally understood what was happening to me and had a name for it. This mission has become so much a part of my life.”

Carleton is also the author of a book of poems, “Sanctuary of the Soul: Poems of Anguish, Healing, Hope, Comfort and Celebration.” She hopes to inspire others through her work, and to act as a voice for those who are victims of abuse.

For more information about programs and organizations in Oakland’s Social Work program, view the website at