Posted by: joshjasper | April 9, 2009

Teachable Moment

My neighbor asked me today about how the current recession influences the rate of rape and domestic violence in our community.  (a question often asked by many) I think it is fair to assume that most people believe that the violent acts they read in the newspaper or see in the news these days are connected to the financial hardships of many.  That makes sense.

I will be the first to acknowledge that adding additional stressors (financial) can certainly exacerbate the issue of rising violence.  We need to take a closer look though.  The main reason we tend to default to this theory of explaining an increase in violence is because we then can identify a clear reason as to why the violence is occurring. (recession)  With that said, we are easier put at ease knowing that once the economy improves, violence will decrease.  This thinking of course is flawed and continues to reinforce the denial that we all hold onto regarding the true reasons violence is so pervasive in our community.  And the denial makes sense.  Who wants to accept the fact that the person raping women and children is not the hideous monster you can identify by appearance but rather your next door neighbor or family member?  It’s even harder to accept the reality that such violence happens so often in our families and communities but yet so few really do anything to prevent future violence.

Times are tough for many and unfortunately, we will see an increase of violence committed, and often times violence that will become even more brutal than before.  This increase cannot be contributed to the economy though, but rather to the very poor coping skills we are teaching one another in times of conflict and stress.

Now is the time to learn from our mistakes from the past and move forward, teaching and modeling new behaviors and attitudes that do not involve inequality, power, and control.

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