Lantern Post

Read. Think. Write.

Violence Works

And because it works it is repeated and practiced since the beginning of time, amongst all creatures, although humans have developed the most sophisticated and the most meaningless forms of it, since no other creatures inflict violence for no other reason but so called ‘fun’.

Even when some  animal spices play-fight or bully each other’s for, what humans would perceive as no other reason but to have ‘fun’, there is always some reason for it; such as learning how to survive, hunt, obtain and keep better resources, mate or similar. Only humans torment each other’s for no other reason but to have so called ‘fun’.  If unable or unwilling to inflict violence against the fellow humans in real life, endless games and movies have been invented, with life-like images, to satisfy the craving for violence and cruelty.

Why am I telling you all this on only the third day of a brand New Year?

Because:

  • all forms of violence are escalating around the world,
  • we are getting more and more desensitised to it, and as a result
  • are less and less likely to not only stop, but even more importantly
  • prevent violence.

The outcome – violence works and what works is repeated.

There are endless examples of all forms of violence being inflicted every hour of every day in all corners of our world. Outlining even the most recent ones would far exceed the capacity of a humble blog post.

However, I was recently reminded of Phoebe Prince, beautiful, intelligent, and eloquent young girl whose tragic dead occurred as a direct result of school bullying. She was born in 1994, the same year as my own daughter, and was found dead in 2010. The bullying inflicted on Phoebe was not only well planned, but it was carried out in systematically cruel and humiliating fashion from which she saw no other escape but dead. It was all done by her peers, kids of her own age.

Phoebe’s story was later described as one of the worst cases of school bullying ever. But they are millions of Phoebe’s in schools around the world every day. And if you are thinking that kids have always been cruel to each other’s in schools, you are probably right. School yards have been character building grounds since their invention, and some other grounds served the same purpose before that. However, there is clear evidence showing frightening increase in both; level of violence and frequency of bullying today’s kids’ encounter. And that despite various anti-bullying campaigns and small army of youth workers, psychologists, social-workers, and similarly trained specialist engaged in those campaigns.

Of course school bullying is only one, and some would argue minor, form of violence today’s humans are exposed to. It certainly pales in comparison to war-time violence, domestic-violence, crime-violence, work-place violence, and endless other forms of violence. Nevertheless school bullying is where, for most kids, it all starts. It is also the place where parents still have, or ought to have, an upper hand. The hand they ought to rise to stop and to prevent bullying. Starting with their own kids in their own homes. Because after all shiny gadgets are taken and all ‘cool’ staff stripped off, before them is still a young boy or girl. One they brought to this world and they are responsible for.  That really is the bottom line. And goes for both sides; those being bullied, as well as those, doing bullying. Because both; the bully, and the bullied, are victims; only standing at the different ends of the same tragedy.

If not stopped or even better prevented at school level, or even earlier if required, violence gets its way. It shows that it works. Because no matter what form it takes; physical, psychological, institutional; it gets its way.

That is because violence inflicts the pain that takes its victims by surprise and completely overwhelms their capacity to process and make sense of what is happening to them. From that moment on, the victim has only one wish and one priority – to make it stop. In whichever way possible; flee from it; cower before it, trying to appease the bully or bullies in any way. Numerous examples show that when witnessing violence, our first reaction is to freeze, to back away; to make ourselves invisible to the perpetrator.

And if you are now thinking of so called fight instinct, whereby instead of fleeing we fight and respond to violence with violence, think again. Only in those situations where aggression is either clearly signalled in advance, or we expected it to occur, we are able to assess the level of threat and thus prepare both mentally and physically to meet it. But violence is almost never unleashed in this way. Experienced fighters know that it takes great skill and experience to recover from and respond to an unannounced and unprovoked attack. This is because the ability to meet violence with violence is not instinctive – it is learned.

The perpetrators of violence know this well. They know that almost always, the physical or mental trauma they inflict throws their victims into shock and transforms them into docile, obedient automations – exactly as they intended. Research shows that the long-term effects of violence are even more useful to those who use it to exert power over others. People become extremely fearful not only of the person or institution responsible, but of the whole world. Their trust in the basic rationally of human interactions, sanity and order of the world is shattered. Victims of violence often withdraw from society altogether. Not only their ability, but even their desire to act independently becomes eroded and is eventually lost.

While I am writing these lines, many people around the world suffer as victims of violence. World Health Organization tells us that each year more than 1.6 million people worldwide lose their lives to violence. For every person who dies as a result of violence, many more are injured and suffer from a range of physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health problems.

Their tormentors made violence work. It worked for them. If the rest of us remain frozen, it works for us too. Because all it takes for the evil to flourish is for the rest of us to do nothing.

And we all live in some form of community, are members of society, send our kids to schools, go to workplaces … this is where we raise our hand to prevent, to stop and to eliminate violence. For ever.

stop-violence

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40 comments on “Violence Works

  1. sharechair
    January 3, 2013

    This is a great post, Daniela. I was a school counselor for years, and trying to stop bullying was a major, daily hurdle. Sadly, one of the biggest problems was the mis-guided thoughts of the parents “no one is going to push my kid around”. And then there are all the violent movies and video games that glorify violence. Until we, as a society, shift those values, I just don’t know how it will end……

    • Daniela
      January 3, 2013

      Thank you very much my dear -:)!

      I admire you for dealing with such tough issues on a daily basis … I can imagine how difficult it must have been. And you have touched the very important aspect of it – misguided parents. Every parent who thinks along those lines (‘no one is going to push my kid around’) models the exact behavior that ignites violence. What parents model is what kids repeat and so the circle continuous. This is precisely why the most important work on preventing and erasing any form of violence starts at home.

      Thank you very much for sharing this valuable insight.

      Daniela

  2. makagutu
    January 3, 2013

    what a good reminder. they say violence begets violence, so it is beholden on all of us to stop violence

    • Daniela
      January 3, 2013

      You said it so well! Thank you!

      It is indeed so … those who inflict violence have often been victims of it first, and so the vicious circle continuous. This is why each and every one of us must try our best to make it stop!

      Many thanks,
      Daniela

  3. gita4elamats
    January 3, 2013
    • Daniela
      January 3, 2013

      Thank you for the reblog!

      Daniela

  4. mixedupmeme
    January 3, 2013

    I have never ever been intimidated by violence or ever seen it happen to family or friends. I
    know it goes on and have read blogs of those crying for a bit of help. What to do? What to do? We never know but what a little kindness toward a stranger might prevent someone from striking out. A little more patience in a line when shopping can never hurt. Thanks for always writing about the tough issues. The answers are even tougher.

    You never fail to spark something in me.

    • Daniela
      January 3, 2013

      Dear Meme,

      It is indeed your great fortunate to have never experienced or witnessed violence. It ruins people lives beyond repair. Even without experiencing it first hand you clearly know of ways to prevent it. Every gesture counts, and what might appear as little kindness toward a stranger, often makes all the difference. If we can all remember that!

      Many thanks for reading and commenting,

      Daniela

  5. Subhabrata Dasgupta
    January 3, 2013

    Hello,

    I recieved the link for this via a blogger friend. You might have heard of the Delhi bus gang rape case. The incident transformed me and ever since the death of the girl I’ve been running a campaign on my blog called VOICES FOR DAMINI. Though your article is a bit out of tune with our campaign but it provides useful insight. On these very grounds I request to be allowed to use this article. I’ll also link back to the original article.

    Take a look : http://subhabratadasgupta.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/voices-for-damini-my-humble-initiative/

    • Daniela
      January 3, 2013

      Hi,

      I have indeed heard of Delhi bus gang rape case … absolute tragedy! I was outraged when I first heard of it and remain very sad about it. Of course you are most than welcome to use my article. We must all work together, whenever and wherever we can to stop violence.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting,

      Daniela

  6. thestarvingbear
    January 3, 2013

    Violence in every form. Physical, emotional, financial, social… It’s devastating. Thank you for your voice.

    • Daniela
      January 3, 2013

      Many thanks for reading and commenting -:)!

      Every voice, and every action, however small they might be, count. We must all work together to stop the violence.

      Kind Regards,
      Daniela

  7. Alice
    January 3, 2013

    I don’t envy the teens today–I sure do not remember such meanness at that age, and we did not experience the sorrows of school shootings or theatre shootings…

    • Daniela
      January 3, 2013

      That makes two of us Alice … I am often astonished with the level of sheer cruelty today’s kids are witnessing. Like you, although growing up in very different part of the world, I do not recall such events as school shootings or escalation of school bullying on the scale often encountered today. It really is of utmost importance to do whatever we can, and wherever we can to stop it.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting,
      Daniela

  8. Jeanette
    January 3, 2013

    Very well said. We must all work together to end violence. Not only do we need to monitor and tackle violence when it occurs, but we also need to teach our children other, better ways of dealing with stress, anger and other negative emotions.

    • Daniela
      January 3, 2013

      Thank you very much Jeanette -:)!
      It is indeed of paramount importance that we all work together and do whatever we can in our respective homes, communities, workplaces, schools our children attend, and any other place we find ourselves in to erase violence.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting,
      Daniela

  9. suanqu
    January 3, 2013

    Hi Daniella, unfortunately our world is full of such very sad truths which often causes me to doubt that human kind is capable of becoming fully human. We are governed by corruption and we live in what is effectively a pressure cooker we call society. I hold that all deviant behaviour is a consequence of corruption plus an element of genetic weakness. An example of this pressure is in my today’s post http://wp.me/p2LIOq-8V
    I think this violence will only end when leadership works for the best interests of the population and the long term survival of our species, instead of the short term profits that are destroying us.
    Namsate

    • Daniela
      January 4, 2013

      Hi,

      You are indeed right, our world is full of sadness brought about by meaningless acts of violence and cruelty and chase for short term profits and power struggles are often to blame.

      Thank you for reading and commenting,
      Daniela

  10. ahmrita natural mental health
    January 4, 2013

    wonderful post Daniela, remenicent of a statement I’ve come across the other day. “End the wars, save $19.3 million per hour” and the saving to humanity and nature could be untold

    • Daniela
      January 4, 2013

      Thank you very much, it is always nice when you come to visit -:)!

      $19.3 million per hour … oh my dear God … how many schools and hospitals and universities can be build with this money … it boggles the mind, and so it does!

      Many thanks,
      Daniela

  11. free penny press
    January 4, 2013

    Such a well written post on a horrific, but unfortunately all true topic. Like you stated, we as as a nation have to keep our eyes & ears open when these signs of bullying (even if they are our own children who are the bullies) appear. I raised my children to be on the lookout for children bullied and to notify someone, school, me anyone. They learned well because I can think of numerous cases where they encountered a peer being mistreated.. It saddens me when deep inside we know the tormentor is a tormented soul as well..

    • Daniela
      January 4, 2013

      Thank you very much for your wonderful insights. I can’t agree more; tormentors are tormented souls indeed and the only way they know how to cope with their own pain is to inflict it on others … who in return become tormented souls and so the vicious circle continuous. One day they become parents and it goes on and on … this is why I believe that parents like yourself are doing fantastic job in raising young people not only with awareness of violence that may be attempted against them, but also as vigilant witnesses.

      Many thanks,
      Daniela

  12. Marylin Warner
    January 7, 2013

    Profound post, Daniela, and written with strength and truth. Well done.

    • Daniela
      January 8, 2013

      Thank you very, very much!

      Best Wishes,
      Daniela

  13. Nine Cent Girl
    January 8, 2013

    Just say no… to violence… it has to start somewhere… thanks for starting it here.

    • Daniela
      January 8, 2013

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting!

      Best Wishes,
      Daniela

  14. Rooha Tariq
    January 8, 2013

    Amazingly written post!

    • Daniela
      January 8, 2013

      Thank you very much!

      Daniela

  15. The Blazing Trail
    January 9, 2013

    Happy New Year Daniela! Thanks for sharing this most insightful piece.Violence especially with its characteristic element of surprise might appear invincible in the interim. In the end though,one verdict squarely awaits its perpetrators…Doom! For at that point, when all is said and done, roles must be reversed…And justice must carry the day! Best wishes.

    • Daniela
      January 10, 2013

      Thank you very much for such thoughtful comment, I can’t agree more!

      Best Wishes!
      Daniela

  16. Very powerful and important post. As an anti-bullying advocate and author of a book being considered in some So. Calif. schools because of its message on intolerance I applaud you for being a voice of reason and shining a light on this subject. It starts here, with dialogues raising awareness and hopefully some effective solutions come out of it. Thank you, friend. Paulette

    • Daniela
      January 22, 2013

      Dear Paulette,

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting. I cannot agree more with your thoughtful comment, it indeed all starts, or ought to start with dialogues and raising awareness.

      All the Best,
      Daniela

  17. Asha Seth
    February 7, 2013

    I could come around here again after a long while and oh! how much I missed your posts, Daniela. This one is so true and highlights well the reasons behind the heinous crimes happening all around the world.

    • Daniela
      February 8, 2013

      Dear Asha,

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment … I am so glad you did come! The Lantern has been a bit dimmed of late due to the keepers business … still as always each and every visit is invaluable!

      Many, many thanks, and

      All the Best

      Daniela

  18. bert0001
    February 14, 2013

    Seeing youth programs on tv coming from America, it always surprised me how much violence was shown in them, around the lockers, etc. So if already shown in tv programs destined for young people, how much more violence there must be in reality.
    In my youth we got bullied on the bus. To and From school, but often escaped this by going to school on our own bike. But I had the impression that bullying was then less of a problem as now. Our societies have become more and more violent over the years. It appears that any level of tolerance on any kind of violence is telling the perpetrators they can get away with it.
    There is only one kind of tolerance against any kind of violence: Zero Tolerance.

    • Daniela
      February 15, 2013

      Hi,

      Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment. I do indeed agree with your views, and remember well times when school yard bullying consisted of far less open and crude violence then it does now. With time and courtesy of technological advancements, more and more cruelty becomes transmitted directly to our living rooms, including acts of despicable violence against other humans. As a result, generally speaking, our societies become more and more desensitized … and that inevitable reflects in type of behaviors our children display. And while most of us agree on zero tolerance, the problem remains on how to achieve it.

      Kind Regards,
      Daniela

      • bert0001
        February 15, 2013

        … zero tolerance has been a problem since post conformism. A post conformist will also empathize with the perpetrator, (something that should be done anyway, but not when the smoke of the crime is still visible), but that means that those who execute the law also have a tendency not to punish smaller mistakes. The message the perpetrator get is that they can get away with one, they can get away with two. So since the law became less rigid (thank god) zero tolerance is difficult if not impossible to achieve. Food for thought.
        Desensitizing is another part of the problem.
        Anonymity in the information world a third.

  19. razvan chivulescu
    February 16, 2013

    For the animals is something natural, but for humans is a source of pleasure! This why in diffrent situation we are more animals that animals!

    • Daniela
      February 16, 2013

      Hi,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. As species we have certainly developed some rather questionable characteristics.

      All the best
      Daniela

      • razvan chivulescu
        February 16, 2013

        it was my pleasure!

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This entry was posted on January 3, 2013 by in Living in our time.
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