Thursday, March 29, 2012

A few thoughts on domestic violence

So today I saw this video of Patrick Stewart:

And read this written by Patrick Stewart:
Patrick Stewart: the legacy of domestic violence
As a child, the actor regularly saw his father hit his mother. Here he describes how the horrors of his childhood remained with him in his adult life.

And I had some thoughts:

Until our society empowers people to feel entitled to justice...until the most common reaction to abuse is to speak out, speak up and LISTEN to those who do...we will continue to wring our hands and wish for a better world. The better world starts with us, with raising our children and expecting our peers to listen, to treat everyone with respect, not just decrying victimization, but empowering those who are victims to speak out for themselves, and empowering those who hurt others to seek help and believe in their own ability to do the right thing.

Not everyone who hurts others is a sociopath without empathy. It all starts somewhere, and I think it's fair to say that right now many people would rather live with hurtful, even violent tendencies rather than try to get help because we subtly train them to compromise themselves in exchange for not being considered "crazy." We as a society, in our media, talk about so many psychological issues as if they are diseases, and treat people who are mentally imbalanced as though they are either vying for attention or a time-bomb ready to blow up in our faces. There is not, as far as I know, a pathogen which creates domestic violence. There is, though, a prevalent social climate which finds excuses for the inexcusable and which can train children to manipulate the emotions of others while remaining blind to their own.

I grew up in a family free of violence, free even of most drama. And that foundation has helped me to overcome issues in my own life, some pretty deeply entrenched issues that at one point almost sent me into a downward spiral. I can only imagine how hard it is for those brave people who overcome issues far more problematic than mine who were even trained as children to see those things as "normal." When you grow up and one or both of your parents emotionally manipulates you, and you struggle free of their influence, it is an act of incredible strength. For those people who are overcoming issues of domestic violence, bigotry, sexism...I am always seeking out ways to help and spread information which could help such people. Because I believe that we have to try to help, or else nothing ever changes.

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