Saturday, March 22, 2014

Domestic Violence: A Societal Issue? by Sara NIles

By Sara Niles author of Torn From the Inside Out

Is Domestic Dysfunction and Domestic Violence a Societal Issue? In other words, does the societal beliefs and attitudes fostered within a culture, affect how domestic violence is treated as a social and legal issue, and does it affect how domestic dysfunction is  cyclically perpetuated from generation to generation? Attitudes help form beliefs and beliefs perpetuate atttitudes.

People tend to examine the world from their own points of reference, which limits their understanding of some issues-that is-if they did not experience it to the same degree then they many not understand it-that in turn, limits the empathetic response and encourages apathy.

Another societal problem with abuse is that many former victims of childhood abuse think they need not think about it again-just move on, stuff it, and pretend it did not happen.This does not fix the problem with the individual, and it does not improve the collective health of society-instead it fosters the 'sweep-it-under-the rug' societal state of denial.

In addition to societal denial,there is societal 'projection' in which the victim is blamed for being 'stupid'....and of course if you can believe that what happened to 'the victim' happened only because they were stupid, then you only have to be 'smart' to not be victimized. The illusion of invulnerability is created and it helps people feel they have control when they say "I would never let that happen to me", not understanding the total dynamic involved. Just as individuals use such tactics to avoid feeling vulnerable-so do collective groups; and eventually, group attitudes become cultural 'norms'...that is what we have now.

In both cases,societal denial and victim blaming- the real issue gets ignored, which is the need to do something to change the cycle of abuse, 
that affects huge numbers of children growing up who will have issues as adults. Changing cultural norms is part of what needs to be done (much like in the situation when slavery existed, and when gay people were considered outcasts).

Domestic abuse is extremely widespread and includes all forms of family dysfunction from emotional and psychological abuse by caretakers of both genders, to sexual and physical abuse.As you both stated-many children are affected and this is a BIG issue in our society.When you consider most people addicted to substances and negative behaviors, were childhood abuse victims-and most people in the prisons were childhood abuse victims-this is an issue of pandemic proportions. It is a societal issue, not just an individual one, and will have to be consistently addressed on a societal level in order to change things.

Public awareness and education is essential to changing public perception. The children absorb societal attitudes-and then the children grow up and become the 'new' society.