Thursday, 18 September 2014

Thinking about domestic violence

In my knitting group are several women who have experienced domestic violence from their husbands or former husbands. I have a very close friend who has been a victim of domestic violence by one of her daughters. Sometimes I see and hear news reports about cases resulting in deaths.

Behaviours are learned; we all know that. I am thinking a lot lately about how the perpetrators learned these terrible behaviours. As a teacher did I accidentally teach someone to be violent? Children learn to be polite or selfish or kind or studious, among other traits. I know I learn information from sources like documentaries on TV. I learn fitness information from websites and general popular press. Did the domestic violence behaviours come from films and songs? Video games? News items about wars? Are the people desperate for understanding and friendship but something is going wrong? Not all the victims are poor, some are very wealthy. Not all are European; all ethnic and racial backgrounds are involved. All religions too, I suspect. One of our local politicians was recently in court for behaving openly in this way to one of her family members.

I have been wondering if I am violent too. How would I behave in similar circumstances? What actually are the circumstances?

Then I think about how we react to reports of violence. I wonder why some actions and reactions generate lots of support, but not others. Is the media condoning violence, being an enabler?

I saw this chart and wondered what other people think. This illustration is about husbands and wives. The chart does not cover everything; it is a beginning. Do you think domestic violence is about feeling superior to another person, or is it something else?

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