There are no excuses for violence but there are certainly reasons. If better understood, we have a greater chance of protecting ourselves from it!
As we reach part six of this blog series in better understanding violence prevention initiatives with regards to what I term as euphoric and reality, we bring things to a close pertaining to the associated stressors of violence. In this part of the blog, we are going to look at a few additional stressors that don’t really fall into the categories of either, emotional and environmental based stressors.
It is important to remember that there are different perspectives on almost everything. When looking to understand the stressors of violence, our focus should be on exactly that, understanding!
Depending upon how you view violence prevention or management, it can be easy to look at stressors as excuses for violence. Although, many that commit violent acts certainly do come up with a lot of excuses and victim-blaming for their actions, the purpose of understanding stressors is to become educated in ideally preventing bad things from happening. The following stressors walk a very thin line between being realistic stressors versus excuses. So when you digest the information do try your utmost not to judge or become emotional at what is being discussed but use the information as a way to broaden your understanding. Hopefully, it gives you food-for-thought!
One huge reason for violence is the excessive consumption of alcohol. Alcohol is known to impact the Prefrontal Cortex, which manages impulse control. This can lower inhibitions, impair judgment, lead to misjudging social cues, and as we are discussing violence, can increase aggressive behaviours. Alcohol-related violence is a major concern around the world. Sure, there are those that become happy or sad or simply pass out, but the concern here is pertaining to violence.
Like many areas of understanding violence the argument can and is made that if people simply knew their limits, the problem could be solved or least reduced. Based upon your dealings within this area, this could have already fuelled an emotional response. The topic of violence pertaining to excessive alcohol consumption alone is huge let alone adding certain narcotics to that equation.
There is no doubt in my mind that looking at the euphoric approach to preventing violence through constrained alcohol consumption would assist in reducing much violence in bars and clubs, and most certainly in the area of domestic violence. It is easy to say that alcohol and drugs are a choice, as are knowing limits. Let us not forget that we are looking to understand the reasons for violence, this is not a blog about pointing fingers or giving people excuses. Although I agree that many are in a position where they can make a rational choice, there are others that do not have the strength due to possible addiction. In cases of addiction, we would need to peel back a few layers to uncover the initial triggers and this is not the time or place for that.
Let’s discuss the extremely fine line between excessive alcohol consumption and sexual assault.
When it comes to protection from sexual assault it is acknowledging that there is an increased risk as a result of alcohol. It is acknowledging that the risk is valid and we are sadly responsible for protecting ourselves. We shouldn’t have to but we are. Let me make this perfectly clear though… Absolutely no one is to blame for sexual violence against them no matter the circumstance. Everyone should be able to go where they want, drink what they want, wear want they want and more, without the fear of assault. However, the world we live in is far from euphoric. Through learning to protect one’s self or not, one is not asking to be assaulted or do they deserve it. No victim of sexual assault should ever be made to feel at fault for what happened. Yes, there are things we can do to protect ourselves, but by not doing them, does not make a person at fault. When it comes to learning to protect ourselves from violence, we should be looking upon it as a way to prevent ourselves from having to face the associated physical and emotional trauma that comes as a result of violence.
I understand that anytime we associate alcohol with violence, especially sexual violence, it elicits an emotional response where people have gone through it and or are very close to the subject. My goal is to help people understand that alcohol and some drugs are not excuses for violence, but they are most certainly reasons.
Allow me to move on from such a delicate area to that of a loss of functionality, another potential stressor to violence. So what is a loss of functionality? Well, before going into this, remember that in an earlier blog I had mentioned about unintentional violence. To some degree, a loss of functionality could certainly fall into this category. A loss of functionality could describe mental, physical and even technology, hence why I have included it into this blog versus that of emotional stressors. It is the ability to cope and manage the loss of daily functions. No matter what it is, it is extremely difficult for an individual that has had use of their functionality in daily life to suddenly be without it. In most cases, the violence is not necessarily directed at a particular individual, but there is still a potential to be harmed. Examples include such things as loss of limbs (removed or non-functional), memory loss such as dementia, and as silly as it may sound, it could even be a result of someone losing their smartphone!
Lack of education can also be a stressor toward violence. We all know that for many, becoming educated in not always a matter of choice. However, education comes in many different forms and not just academic based. When it comes to violence some of the most brilliant of minds have committed violent acts. What is being described here is a lack of education that has resulted in lower emotional intelligence as a result of a poor upbringing, social standings and more. Look at this way. If one does not learn social skills then it is safe to assume they will learn anti-social skills. This is one of the main reasons there is such a heavy emphasis on building healthier relationships as a way to prevent violence and I do not disagree. As mentioned throughout this blog series, the euphoric approach to preventing violence is needed because it is the long-term goal we should all be aiming for. However, in the meantime, we still need to face the reality of present-day violence.
I’m going to finish this blog by talking about access to weapons and how that can be a stressor to violence. Obviously, depending upon where you live in the world, weapons are more prevalent than in others. In the U.K. for example, knives are a major concern whilst in the U.S. it is guns. It is safe to say that if someone has access to weapons, there is a possibility for use. So let’s get real with this. Put a weapon in the hand of someone that respects life and is not forced to use it for defensive purposes then we’re good, most of the time! However, if someone of questionable character or mental illness gets hold of a weapon and in conjunction with other stressors, now there is a high potential for usage. Without going into great length about this, just think of how you can better protect yourself from potential weapon associated violence. Situational awareness is key. Remember, hostility within the home provides access to many weapons. In a moment of crisis and loss of rationality, it is what is closest that could become a weapon of circumstance. This could be the dog’s chew toy or the steak knife!
So there we have it. These blogs were not aimed at being a wealth of information for those professionals already in the field of managing violence, but more towards the general public and others in violence prevention that may be finding it difficult to grasp the concepts for learning to protect themselves. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The purpose of learning to protect ourselves from violence is to prevent bad things from happening.
I do hope you have enjoyed reading or listening to these blogs. I would certainly love to hear from you regarding them. Please remember to keep your interaction positive in thought and in response.
Thank you for following and sharing this blog. Until next time!