National Violence Awareness Month - Origins and Impact
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
- Family Violence Prevention Fund
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- 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.
More Information On Violence
- Death In the Classroom - A School Bully Can Kill You...
Designing and studying effective Anti-Bully Programs works.
- Hostile Work Environment - How to Handle the Office Bully
Al types of bullying can occur in the workplace. Be aware of what may happen to you or your children at work, and help to spread the word. Some US States are considering Anti-Workplace Bullying laws.
- Emotions and Abuse: Are Humans Naturally Violent?
- How and Where to Get Help for Domestic Abuse and Vio...
This is a listing of reliable places and Hotline numbers in the USA and UK to call when you need help to escape domestic violence, abuse, and related situations.
- Why do women stay in violent relationships - by Princessa
Why does anyone stay in a violent relationship? Why do women hang around when they know their husband or boyfriend might injure or even kill them? In asking why a person stays in an abusive relationship, we are assuming that the person has a choice,
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.