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Today in St. Paul two people were murdered. It has been reported that the two were
fighting with a third party about a phone call that was made. The suspect is in custody
and the case is under investigation, a reporter in the ten o clock news reports. Spouse
and child abuse are on the rise. This year alone over 6 million men, women, and
children were victims of severe physical attacks from their spouses or parents (article
16)*, another reporter reports. Is it just me or does this seem like something that is all
too often heard on the news? The violent acts in the United States are out of control. But
what can be done about it, and how much worse are things going to get? It seems to me
that what is being done now isn t enough, because things just keeps getting worse.
There are twelve main things that have been being studied in depth lately by
sociologists. They include: spanking, child abuse, spouse abuse, the punishment for the
offenders, gun control, the media s affect on violence, the role sports play in violence,
the role religion plays in violence, pacifism, and international violence. My paper will
discuss each of these aspects as well as my opinions and state some facts.
Before I can say how I feel, I think there is a need to define violence,
aggressiveness, and assertiveness and explain the difference between them. Violence is a
physical act that intends to harm or hurt another person. Violence includes many things;
such as, hitting, punching, biting, killing, stabbing, shoving, and so much more. Violence
can be linked to two other words that have also become a part of every day life for many
people; aggression and being assertive. Aggression is a hostile, or destructive act that is
forceful. Aggression is usually related with someone being dominant. Being assertive is
to stating something (i.e. your opinion) boldly. Both aggression and being assertive do
not involve a physical force. Although these three words have different meanings, I think
they very closely related. When a person is being assertive and not getting their way, or
getting their point across, they can often become aggressive, and aggression often times
leads to a violent act. This domino effect closely relates all these words.
Violence, it has become something that society has to deal with every day now.
Much newspaper space is currently being given to violence–the violence that is
happening and the frequent cries to stop it, says that writer of article 3*. Just think of
the major world events that happened last couple years; Columbine, the Oklahoma City
bombing, Jonesboro, the increase of gang violence, or even the racist incidents that
happened at Champlin Park last year. All of these huge events involves at least one
violent reaction. Turn on the television for half an hour, the amount of violence,
assertiveness, or aggression you will notice in cartoons, sitcoms, or even on the news will
be extremely high. We are being exposed to violence more and more every day, and a lot
of times I don t think people even realize that they are being exposed. Watching
wrestling or a sport on television are two examples of this. It seems like society is
starting to see violence as something normal. A person getting murdered is no longer
headline news, it takes a immature kid to go and shoot eight classmates of his in order to
open people s eyes. People have become so used to hearing about someone being unable
to control themselves and lashing out at someone that they don t even turn their head
anymore when they hear about it. Violence, aggression and assertiveness are an everyday
part of life now.
Violence, and aggression are learned behaviors. …aggressive behavior is learned
very early in life and continues with the individual over many years, (article 18)*. Just
like a parent teaches a child to say please and thank you and be considerate of others,
they can teach them violence. A parent is probably the most important influence a
person has. Children not only look up their parents and admire them, they want to be like
them. When a child sees the person they admire hitting someone, or do something else
that could be characterized as violent, they begin to think it is okay to act in such a way.
After continuously seeing this violence they will become violent themselves. Society
also teaches violence.
We have produced a society in which there is a great pressure on males to
continually prove themselves. Much teaching in our society, including the role-modeling
in TV and movie fiction, reinforces the view that if males don t get what they want, or if
life has been unfair, they should go out and get even by beating up, even killing, other
people, (article 1). Society does this through the media, television, music, and other
things that are an important part of a child s life. Sometimes what defeats us is the
larger culture. American society is marvelous in its competitiveness and its autonomy
and its independence. But many times that spills over into a kind of me-first aggression,
this statement from article 1* agrees with me fully on my statement that society also
teaches violence. A child, for example, viewing a lot of television shows that incorporate
violence in their plot, sees that violence is okay. There are tons of television shows aimed
at children that have violence in them. Think of X-Men, Superman, Teenage Mutant
Ninja Turtles, and hundreds of other shows that are centered around violence.
Music has also gotten worse when it comes to promoting violence. The number
of CDs with the explicit lyrics sticker on it has probably tripled in the past 5 years. The
lyrics of songs have gotten much more graphic and are constantly talking about shooting
someone, or beating up a cop. The song just isn t a song without that in there now it
seems like. An example from article 16* that also supports society teaches violence is,
People reflect their culture in their behavior and they re just doing what they ve been
taught. Their hero on that show may beat up or even kill the villain which causes a
child to see this as okay to do. He then may go to school and beat another child up for
making him angry.
I think that violence roots from being left out, and having an anti-social life.
When a person has no friends, they can not relate to people and have little people skills.
Goldstein said he believes that antisocial behavior, including violence, is learned. One
is not born with it, (article 1). Teaching child to be social and have interpersonal
relationships throughout their life can definitely absolve people feeling left out and assist
a person in gaining social skills that are necessary in life.
How a parent chooses to discipline their child could shape who the child is for the
rest of their life. Therefore, a parent must be very careful on how they decide to punish
their youngster. My personal opinion on how a parent should deal with a child acting out
in a unfavorable way is to force the child to sit down and talk about what happened, why
it happened, and what they feel should be a punishment. I feel that this is a pretty hard
punishment for a child because most of the time a child will want to go sit in their room
for 5 minutes or have a toy taken away. This form of discipline was suggested to me in
article 1, which discussed a family that doesn t punish their kids using the conventional
methods. Instead, they talk to their children which has been proven to be a pretty harsh
punishment; His wife, Dianne, said, We do put a big value on talking…Sometimes the
kids will say Hit me. Just don t make me talk about it. As far as spanking goes, I
don t think a parent should EVER do this. In my opinion this is a form of child abuse. It
is hitting a child, and touching a child in an unloving way which constitutes as abuse.
Spanking a child, as a form of cultivation, has been shown to harm the child in
the future. Corporal punishment impairs the development of children, interferes with
the learning and increases the likelihood of vandalism and aggression, according to the
resolutionist, (article 2). If parents were aware of this, I highly doubt that they would
continue to use spanking as their form of punishment. They care too much about their
child s future to impair it. We need to provide more parenting support and education, for
not only parents, but also for those that work with children. I also think that it is very
hypocritical for a parent to spank a kid. I find even more hypocritical considering a
recent survey discovered that 75% of respondents opposed spanking, 55% believed it to
be an abusive act, 48% reported having spanked their children, (article 4). They are
constantly telling their children not to hit, that hitting is wrong, but then they go around
and spank their kid. They are giving mixed signals which just confuses a person and
doesn t help him/her at all.
Child abuse is defined, in my opinion, as any unwanted physical act that is
harmful toward the victim. I think society has become more lenient when it comes to
child abuse. It is considered tough love these days if a father beats his child mercilessly
for stealing a dollar from his mother s purse. Society has also begun to turn the other
way when they see child abuse. It isn t my problem so I shouldn t have to deal with it,
seems to be the current mentality of many US citizens. I would hope that if I saw a
parent hit their child I would have the courage and strength to seek the proper authorities
and inform them of the situation. I think that if everyone is so concerned with the
well-being of children and how parents are raising them, then they have to stop looking
in the other direction when they witness a child being punished beyond what they feel is
being disciplined. Once a parent is found guilty of child abuse they should have
mandatory parenting classes, anger management classes and go through many
psychological visits to find the roots of why they feel it is necessary to punish in this way,
and to teach them how to deal with things differently. I also feel that the abused should
see a therapist, to deal with the emotional scaring, and to avoid becoming abusers
The American family is second only to the military in the rate of injuries, and
that s only during war time, * as this quote from article 16 shows, spouse abuse is a
much bigger problem than most people think it is. In fact the number of violent lovers
is at about 25% (article 9*). To alleviate this horrid problem there needs to be stricter
enforcement and punishment for the abusers. Placing the accused in jail over night or
forcing them to go stay in a hotel for the night will only solve the problem for the night.
Article 7-A* agrees with me on this, Jail won t do much good. It will not make the
person stop all together.
Tougher things need to be done to the abuser. Jail time (for more than one night)
and mandatory counseling seems like a good idea to me to surpress that amount of
violence in relationships. The abuser needs to realize that they have a problem in order
to take the first step to fixing it. Spending a week or two in jail and going through
counseling may force them to come to reality. It doesn t matter how far along the
relationship has developed if a person places any part of their body on the other person
involved in the relationship in a way that is not wanted, it is abuse.
It is very hard for a woman to get out of a relationship when she is being abused.
…50% felt they could not get along without their partner…, (article 17-A)* This is
because of the love she feels for the man, and the happiness she has when he is not
violent always seem to make up for the abuse she endures. This is shown often in talk
shows; the men abuse the women but they can t get out because they love the man, have
children with him, or have happiness when he isn t abusing her. This was also brought to
my attention by article 9* which states that the person doesn t get out because they often
find separation harder to live with that the abuse. Reason: fear of loneliness or of losing
the status that comes from having a steady date. Women also find it hard to leave the
man because they have a tendency to see aggression as a kind of affection, (article 9).
Another thing that was brought to my attention about the person leaving the abuser is that
Nearly 30% of the couples had at some time taken abuse as a sign of love. And a
number considered violence a normal , even healthy part of a love affair. Three-quarters
of those who had been involved in an assault said it did not do their relationship any
harm. More than one-third felt that hitting, or being hit, actually improved their
relationship, (article 9).
I think that it is a lot harder for the woman to get out the longer she has been with
the man. When a relationship begins and the two are just dating I don t think it would be
as hard for the woman to walk away because she doesn t have a strong bond with the
man, and hasn t felt what his love is like. As the relationship develops and the two begin
to fall in love the amount of emotional pain a woman would have to go through to leave
increases. The two have now gotten closer and she knows both sides of him. The next
step in the relationship would be engagement then marriage.
Many couples involved in abusive situations during courtship go ahead with
their plans for marriage anyway, *(article 17-A). At this point it is extremely hard for
the woman to leave. She has now built her life around this man and more than likely
lives for him. She always has a glimmer of hope that he is going to change.
Society has pointed the blame on this problem on how the abuser grows up; One
in ten husbands who grew up in violent families are wife beaters, compared with one in
30 who grew up in nonviolent homes, (article 16). When a child grows up in a home
seeing their father abuse their mother, the violent behavior seems an acceptable part of
marriage. I also think that men beating their significant other has to do with a male s
power struggle and the need they feel to be above their wife.
Domestic abuse is something that is very hard to deal with for anyone, even the
police, because they are criticized for interfering in a family squabble at all and
criticized for not protecting victims, (article 8)*. The police currently have three ways
of handling domestic violence: mediating the fight, separating the couple, or arresting the
suspect, (article 8)* and none of these things seem to be working.
What needs to be done to alleviate this problem is to teach people differently
when they are younger about the roles they play in the dating game. Currently it seems
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