Violence. Mentioning the word conjures up images of assault, abuse, and
even murder. In today's American society, violence is more prevalent now then
ever. Annually, we see violence statistics rise and are left to wonder why.
Each year 1 person out of every 40 is the victim of a violent crime. Everyone
wants to find an answer a problem that is in great need of solving. But where
do we look to find the answers? What causes people to behave in a violent
fashion? There are several factors that will cause people to act violently.
Maybe if we explore the reasons for the behavior, and address these issues, we
will win our battle with violence.
Drug and alcohol abuse in this country has always been around, but
recently numbers are hitting all time highs. From 1992 to 1995, drug use among
teenagers almost doubled. Drugs and alcohol are both mind altering agents which
cause people to do things that they would not normally do or intensify the
emotions that they feel. I believe that many violent acts are due to people
being under the influence of some type of narcotic or alcohol.
In a survey conducted in the University of Tennessee for the Department
of Health, the effects of drug abuse on violence were studied. It was found
that almost 56% of drinkers also used drugs while drinking. Interestingly,
white males were found to be more abusive than black males. The study showed
direct links from substance abuse to violence and crime.
With drug use and violence rising, a direct correlation can be seen.
Our society has created drug awareness programs in our schools, but obviously
something must be changed in these programs. They simply are not working. The
highest drug abuse numbers are seen in the teen year's age group. We must find
a way to lower these numbers and reduce the number of drug users, especially
children. When we have successfully done this, I think the rate of violence
will also drop.
Violent tendencies can get their starts early in one's life. The way a
person was raised and the type of behavior they were exposed to has an impact on
their behavior as young adults and adults. A child who sees violence towards a
family member or is treated violently may grow to think that this behavior is
normal and accepted in our society.
In a study done in 1987 on children, ages 4 to 11, staying in a domestic
abuse shelter, it was found that these children had higher levels of aggression
than children who were not victims or witnesses. The girls with the highest
levels of aggression were school aged, while the boys were pre-school aged.
Children 12 and over were not allowed into the shelter because of the behavioral
patterns they had learned at home. This shows how violence can also be a
learned action.
Children who have been exposed to violence during their childhood are
also more likely to have emotional problems later on in life. In a 1992 study,
it was found that boys who have been exposed have 17 times more behavior and
mental problems, while girls who have been exposed have 10 times more. These
behavior and emotional problems can potentially lead to violence later on in
I think to combat this problem we need to teach women, or men, as the
case may be to educate themselves on the signs of domestic abuse. I think
children should also be educated on it at an early age so that they too can pick
out warning signs, and can talk to someone that they trust should they feel
threatened. We must help children who are victims through counseling programs
so that they learn violence is wrong before they are influenced by the examples
set forth at home. Counseling should also be provided so that the child also
has a chance to talk about the situation and his or her feelings.
One of the biggest reasons that I believe violence occurs is ignorance.
Violence in the domestic area is not so much affected by this, but senseless,
random acts of crime are. In today's society, many people are ignorant. They
are ignorant to ideas that they don't know about, people with different
lifestyles, and people of different ethnic backgrounds, for example.
Acceptance of others has always been a problem that our culture has
faced. Many have died for the right to be accepted, and many have been killed
because they weren't. In America, through the 60's we saw a revolution in
rights for African Americans. It was