one thing about 'science': surprisingly, the word seems to turn off all critical reasoning faculties. but of course you have to like the conclusion; then any argument is a good enough argument, as in this tissue of strange fallacies by lisa feldman barrett in the new york times, arguing that speech can be violence and that she has a scientific basis for distinguishing speech that is from speech that isn't.
If words can cause stress, and if prolonged stress can cause physical harm, then it seems that speech — at least certain types of speech — can be a form of violence. But which types?
the argument runs like this: what causes physical harm is violence. stress causes physical harm. words can cause stress. so words can be violence. as usual, the neurology does nothing at all, especially if you already knew that stress can cause physical harm. but it describes the harm: stress = violence shrinks telomeres. so i wonder what else shrinks telomeres; it's all violence.
seriously, boiling down the argument, it's this: doing anything that stresses someone out is assault. think about that for just a minute, alright?