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National Violence Awareness Month - Origins and Impact

Updated on February 6, 2013 | Source

Violence All Year

The United States of America has dozens of anti-violence organizations and yet, the problem of violence remains in our streets and in our homes. Periodically, it seems to wane in some of our metro areas, and then increases afresh as new forms of violence emerge. In the 2010s, cyberbullying is a hot topic. It can and has destroyed lives and cyber sometimes turns to face-to-face bullying. The topic of suicide among GLBT teens in America is explosive in its impact and implications. Lives have been lost through bullying. If kids aren't killed by bullies, then the bullying causes them to take their own lives, since some cannot tolerate the pain in those lives. And on the sidelines of this new massacre and even on camera, some individuals proclaim that they are glad the kids are killing themselves. That is additional violence, because words do kill, despite rhymes and fairytales to the contrary.  

In the year 1995, national agencies convened in order to establish a month to recognize the seriousness of violence in America and the need to remedy it at its roots. Very Interestingly at this time, my project group in Preventive Medicine at The Ohio State University was investigating the nature of the Number One Problem in schools throughout our county from Daycare to Grade 12. We came back with an astonishing answer: Violence.

National Violence Prevention Month was right on time.

National Agencies Meet

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) 1995

  1. Family Violence Prevention Fund
  2. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  3. National Domestic Violence Hotline
  4. National Network to End Domestic Violence

October became National Domestic Violence Month and some individuals drop the "Domestic" out of the title.

So much violence exists against all demographics of people everywhere, that domestic is perhaps too limiting. However, domestic violence hidden at home may be a larger creature than we think. Most of us know a scared woman, child, or man that wants to run away from it, but is afraid of being stalked and killed for their very escape. They are afraid for other reasons as well, from losing posessions to losing a roof over their heads to having to enter a workforce they feel will reject them. This is not a simple matter to solve.

I must say that sometimes I wonder if some individuals hire people, get married or cohabit, have a baby, or buy a pet primarily in order to have someone to hurt.

In my first anthropology class, our professor stated at the beginning of class that there is no such thing as love and that all relationships (personal and business) are based on deriving some sort of personal gain. I remember one young woman screaming at him immediately. Despite however many protestations there may be to his assertion, he may be correct in some cases. When the gain is to control and otherwise hurt another person or an animal, then it cannot be a good gain.

How Can Violence Be a Problem in Daycare?

In 1994, an acquaintance had placed her 4-month-old infant son into a reputable daycare facility close to home in order to be able to return to her much-needed full-time employment. In just a few weeks, she began to find red marks and welts on her son's body. A 2-year-old boy at the daycare had been hopping up into the crib and biting the infant on the back in an early display of bullying. Meetings between parents and administration resulted in the removal of the older boy from the facility.

In 2005 in the opposite end of the county, an older gentleman was hired by a church as an accountant, fired, and rehired as a janitor. Being short staffed in the daycare toddler department servingr 6 children ages infant through 2-years, a staff member asked the janitor to sit with the young children.

At the end of the afternoon, a dad retrieved his toddler from church daycare - the child was whimpering and shaking. The janitor had no explanation. Half way home, the dad found that the child's skull was fractured, after one eye and the side of the face swelled and reddened. The dad and mom removed their child from the daycare and no legal consequences resulted.

Within months, the janitor was again asked to sit with the toddlers one afternoon. A different dad picked up his toddler son and found him crying and shaking.

The janitor described a head- or body-bumping collision between the boy and another male toddler, but had not completed an Incident report about it. On the way home, the injured boy began crying aloud and his dad pulled over to the shoulder of the road. Examining the boy's small body, he found cuts and took him to the hospital, where doctors found cuts on the back, chest, and genitals. The boy described being spanked by the janitor with a knife, which turned out to be a metal-edged ruler. In December 2009, the church paid a settlement of approximately $2 Million, down from a levied $6 Million. The perpetrator left the state. Will the money remedy the emotional trauma of violence?

National Violence Prevention Month did not stop violence, but it was a step forward in progress.

Sin of Omission

Of all the causes of violence, the carelessness of failing to run comprehensive background checks and to assign fully vetted workers to appropriate duties seems easy to avoid and the most ludicrous offense that can be perpetrated in these cases, second only to 1st Degree Homicide, in my opinion.

Homicide was, indeed, the first largest cause of American infant-to-age-5 death in the early 1990s. Our childcare workers must be vetted. If they are then unsuited to handling children and likely to become abusive, even if it's "under stress", then they must be put into other jobs.

A new animated film sends the loud message "Inside every bad guy is a good guy." That may be true for even a lot of bad guys, but I find it difficult to believe it of all. Thus, we need recognition and prevention. 

Technology, Mental Health, and Priorities

October 28, 2010

The Florida Times-Union

"A Jacksonville mother charged with shaking her baby to death has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Alexandra V. Tobias, 22, was arrested after the January death of 3-month-old Dylan Lee Edmondson. She told investigators she became angry because the baby was crying while she was playing a computer game called FarmVille on the Facebook social-networking website."

Reference: Story by David Hunt

We may be shocked by this story, and rightly so; however, parents caught up in casino gambling - slot machines - have been known to punish their children severely and physically for interrupting them at a slot machine in a Nevada grocery store. Farmville seems a new iteration.

Long Term Work

The summary is that we have a constant battle against letting violence seed and grow. It takes daily work and alertness. While we cannot live our lives in a state of unhealthy hypervigilance, we can be aware of the signs of impending violence and how to diffuse it or how to get away and call for help. We need to teach every child these facts.

As for martial arts, I've personally needed to use it only a handful of times for self defense - it was quick, effective, and no one was injured. Touching the attacker is not always required. Moreover, properly instructed, the disciline reduces aggressive behaviors and does not inflame them. However, children sometimes end up in a studio that encourages full contact competition too often, so beware.

Some people can play violent video games and keep the activity as a short-term recreational pursuit, while others attack someone - I've witnessed teens committed to psych wards for months for such extremes. I suppose all sorts of addictions can lead to violence, recalling an incident in the news of a smoker that created quite a physical commotion some years back on an airplane when told to put out a cigarette. As a restaurant manager, I saw people throw trays of food because they were not permitted to have a baked potato by a doctor, a relative or a paying date. As a teacher, I witnessed a student withdrawing from medications attempt to rip a door from a restroom stall and pull the toilet out of the floor. It's everywhere.

Knowledge is the first step, deciding what to do about violence is the next, and National Violence Awareness Month hopefully helps.


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    • Seakay profile image

      Seakay 6 years ago from Florida

      Wow, great informative write! Many over-stressed people out there. We must keep our heads "while all about are loosing theirs"!

    • Squirrelchaser profile image

      Squirrelchaser 6 years ago from Leesburg, FL

      Yes, I have known a number of women in situations with a violent or abusive husband who were afraid to get out. Thank you for the info. Good article.

    • bojanglesk8 profile image

      bojanglesk8 6 years ago

      Great hub, lots of good info.

    • schoolmarm profile image

      schoolmarm 6 years ago from Florida

      Wow. Such shocking, sad stories. We do need to be aware of these things to make any improvements though. This is a good program you are helping.

    • profile image

      bsilipigno 6 years ago from Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866

      Great hub, lots of good info.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      As always a fine article. We are all aware and we are all wishing to stop it but the mobe they got all the rights on their side and therefore do anything what they feel like. Unless the law is more on the public side and the mob gets what they deserve I can see any changes. At the moment they can come into your house beat you to a piece but the moment you take a piece of wood or knife and use it, you are in trouble and they are free. To make matters worse, a law was passed that if they plead guilty they get reduced or no sentence at all.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Patty another great hub on a serious subject. I still have nightmares and as you say this is not a simple matter to solve. It's not easy to get out of an abusive situation.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Heart Felt Book profile image

      Cheri Taylor 6 years ago from New York, NY

      great hub this was wonderful.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      All of these comments are appreaciated and very relevant, so thanks to everyone for reading and writing a remark. Knowing what we do, we can make our oan corners of the world better and maybe others will see what we do and attempt to do the same.

      Hello, hello - That is horrible and must be changed some way. I don't know how yet.

      Zsuzsy Bee - I had nightmares about one incident for 20 years and it was not as severe an event as so many others I've heard. But the impact of violence and abuse is huge; more so than many people may know. Thanks for visiting and I hope you're well.

    • profile image

      innovativesourcin 6 years ago

      Very nice hub.Thanks a lot.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Good evening, Patti. I always love your hub. I learn much something new when I come to your hub, including this one. Thank you very much.


    • AngRose profile image

      AngRose 6 years ago


      Thank you so much for a wonderful hub, and for bringing awareness to people. This is a topic near to me as my sister was abused by her husband. The abused begins to think they "deserve" what they are receiving and do not leave. We had to "make" her leave, and then she still returned to him once more, but is now, thank God, away from him. Still the effects linger in panic attacks and the like.

      The thing I find the most saddening is the lack of attention paid to this subject. It is as if people feel that women (or men) being abused should just be "smart" enough to get out, or shouldn't have gotten into this situation in the first place. Isn't it sad that October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it was plastered all over the internet, the television, posters near our hospital, etc., yet the same month was National Domestic Violence month and I saw almost nothing about it? Don't get me wrong, breast cancer is a horrible disease and I'd love to see a cure for it, but that is something that nobody can "stop" from happening, Violence can be stopped if people are just willing to get involved.

      Thank you again Patti.


    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

      Patti, thank for another awesome hub and a worthy topic. Violence is one of those things that breeds its own kind and until the cycle is broken the perpetuation of the beast will continue. I have a deep involvement in this topic and am personally thanking you for bringing this hub to your readers.

      "And on the sidelines of this new massacre and even on camera, some individuals proclaim that they are glad the kids are killing themselves. That is additional violence, because words do kill, despite rhymes and fairytales to the contrary."

      You write a perfect group of words here that speak loudly that not only sticks and stones can kill.

      This must be shared, tweeted, voted up and as always awesome.

      ~Always choose love~


    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      I just found that Piscataway, New Jersey instituted Domestic Vionece Intervention Teams from resident volunteers who are trained to act as first responders in these cases, to help whomever has been targeted immediately after it is discovered. We need these teams in all communities.

      Thanks for reading and writing encouragement to everyone that needs help, AngRose, K9, and everyone.

    • Support Med. profile image

      Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

      This is a great hub telling us that silence contributes to abuse, and we as a nation have tolerated bullying and domestic abuse for too long. I hope as well that there will be more 'Domestic Violence Intervention Teams.' The information you shared about the toddler exhibiting bullying and violent tendencies shows that there are some 'silent' issues that can contribute to a person growing up to be a bully. Whether it is something genetic, a chemical dysfunction of a body system, or a learned behavior. Hopefully, with the new knowledge and the help of Awareness Month, more can be done to stop and prevent it. Excellent hub!! Voted and rated.

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