Violence Affects Every Individual

Vijai P. Sharma, PhD.

Violence is not just the problem of violent people, or of the people directly victimized by it. Violence affects every single individual of our society directly or indirectly. 

Take for instance, domestic violence; it's not just the problem of the homes where it occurs, but it also hurts friends and relatives living in ten other households. I refer to a violent person as "he," but note that in about 10% of heterosexual relationships, it is women who act violently. 

Let's admire people who work for prevention of violence. These "soldiers" are hunkered down in the trenches fighting every day to protect the weaker, the helpless, and the abused. They fight for the freedom of women who have been caged in by their predators. If we win this war against violence, it would be won by these front-line soldiers.

We don't make a point of honoring the people who exercise self control and self discipline over their raw emotions. They are really the unsung heroes. So let's begin with a few salutations in the honor of these people who we don't talk about because they don't create any problem. 

Let's salute all men and women who can argue and debate over their differences peacefully, without yelling, screaming, cussing, pushing, shoving or expressing any form of violence towards those with whom they are in disagreement.

Let's salute all men and women who can be angry with the other person and in their anger still care about them enough not to hurt them physically, emotionally, or verbally. 

Let's salute all men and women who choose to tolerate tension and work things out rather than lashing out at the other person.

Let's salute all men and women who believe that violence is not an option for them.  Let's salute all parents who discipline their children with loving care and firmness and avoid any violent punishment.

Let's salute all parents who set for their children an example of respect for their partner and of self control over their anger so when their children go out into the society, they can love and respect their partner and control their anger from becoming destructive. 

Let's salute all men and women in law enforcement and legal system, however, few they may be at present, who see violence from one partner to the other no different from violence on the street and not sweep it under the rug as a "domestic dispute" or a "husband-wife argument. " Let's further salute those who can see that there can't be much of an equal argument between a 200 pound Tarzan and a 110 pound bruised and shaken up Jane. 

What we have in our society is nothing short of a love affair with violence. Violence has deeply permeated our society and gained roots in our language, our play, our music, and our work. For a lot of people, even love has become violent. We think that aggressiveness and flying off the handle now and then is the American way. The culture of violence is not just a sub-culture, it is a dominant culture of our society of today. The culture of violence is promoted by very powerful and engaging modes, such as, the movies, radio, TV, video games, books, and music. 

I had an interesting experience that brought this point home to me. A colleague and friend in

mental health said to me, "Vijai, let's write a book together. " I said, "sounds like a good idea.  What topic?" 

My friend said, "You choose the topic. " I said, "How about non-violence. I would love to  write a book about nonviolence from a psychological point of view." My friend was caught totally off-guard. 

Taking a moment to recover, he said, "Oh, I don't know about non-violence. It sounds so Indian. 

"That was the end of our proposed book, but later I got to thinking about it, "how can  on- violence be just Indian? Don't buy into violence because it is American. There is nothing more we need in our society today, than a concerted movement towards non-violence. In order to survive in today's world, each one of us must adopt a personal policy of "no-violence" in relationships.


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Copyright 1996, Mind Publications 



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