Violence as a Social Problem
Week 5 Final
SOC203: Social Problems
A father is woken up in the early morning hours of the morning by the sound of a click in his ear. A person he trusts attacks him, the gun goes off and his family is left to suffer a gaping hole for the rest of their lives. A woman is afraid to walk through the halls of her own home when her husband is around because she is terrified he will strike her again. A young girl avoids going to school because she is afraid of being attacked by her schoolmates. These are just a few small examples of how violence in or society wears many faces; it is a social phenomena. In order for human actions to be considered violent, the action must consist of a group of victims or victim. Violence calls for explanations that are interpersonal. Instead of looking at the perpetrator for causes looking to the victim or victims can give a better understanding as to why it is universal and how and why violence varies in frequency and intensity. The question that plagues social science is not why it occurs but why does it occur so naturally in some circumstances rather than others when it is socially undesirable. According to Professor Thomas Blume of Oakland State University attention to the social aspects of violence seems to make excuses to the individual action that later results in encouragement for more violence.
What makes a society is the combined experiences that many individual share. These shared experiences are categorized and referred to as constructs or schemas. In the past some acts of violence were integrated into society either by justifying the violent actions or contributing it to psychopathology. Today Violence has changed the way we function as a society. It is apart of the way parents raise their children, it is a factor in how we function in public and interact with strangers. Violence is such a serious issue in society that it has spread into the health department’s list of chronic issues. According the Public Health Journal violence acts as an epidemic. Not only does it affect the physical health of the victims but it also affects the mental health as well as the health of those who lay witness to violence. According the twelfth annual national report on violence from September 2017 there have been over seventy two thousand two hundred and forty five people served each day due victimization this includes a large number of children. When violence affects children it not only damages their mental and emotional state it seems to place them in a cycle. Violence has such a detrimental affect on the mental stability of children it hinders their development and causing a dependency to others causing them to become a target for more mistreatment and abuse as adults.
Aside from children women are more likely to fall victim to violence rather than men. One in every three females fall victim to violence every day by someone they know. On daily average there are more than twenty thousand calls place regarding some form of violence. Nineteen percent of these calls involve a weapon, which in turn leads to a five hundred percent chance of homicide. Seventy two percent of all murder-suicide cases involve an intimate partner and ninety four percent of these victims are all women (CDC 2010). Still many more violent criminal acts go unreported.
There are many reasons as to why there are so many cases of violent crimes/acts. But many argue that it is a learned behavior. Either the perpetrator has seen it growing up and has incorporated it unknowingly into their behavior as an adult or needs to seek mental health assist or in some cases it is an economic trigger. Some families feel the strain of living in poverty and the stress becomes so overwhelming that tension builds upon itself with no sense of relief. Regardless of the reason behind violent acts there is nothing that justifies it. Yet causes are needed in order to find the solution to this problem.
There are many theories that can be used to explain violence in society. It can be group into different theoretical categories. Some theories have similar elements, which will overlap the underlying concepts. But the purpose of these theories is to assist in understanding and help by guiding society in efforts to reduce the level of violence throughout the communities.
Looking at violence using a Functional perspective, functionalists consider violence to be a necessity that comes to action when social needs are not meet. “High stress levels, rapid technological, social, and economic change, and conflict between social groups make sense as contributors to violence. These understandings of violence have the advantage of leading directly to action; if a society knows what is broken, it can organize attempts to fix it” (Blume, 1996). Even though this theory can provide a list of problems and solution for the issue of violence it still does not explain how to prioritize and coordinate proper intervention plans. It is believed in today’s society that violence can be curbed if treated as an epidemic disease.
According to the Department of Health treating violence with a health approach is the most effective way for treating those most at risk for violence and preventing it. The Department of Health feels it is possible for health professionals to identify and treat those who are at risk of violent behavior in the same way they treat and prevent diseases. The method the Department of Health uses is called the Cure for Violence Method. Founded in 1995, it’s main purpose is to use the epidemic method of treatment by selecting individuals within the communities that are trusted and held in high regard and train them to anticipate where violence is most likely to occur and they intervene using the Cure for Violence Method before it erupts into something that will devastate the community. These individuals are known as Interrupters and are sent back into the communities with the goal of engaging the people and changing the norms and the behaviors. For example, a community with high levels of risky behaviors such as drug activity, poverty, low education, and other risky behaviors will be infiltrated by these individuals and help the community view these behaviors through a health lens. The Cure for Violence Method adapts methods used to stop the transmission of some of the most deadly diseases such as AIDS, Cholera, and Tuberculosis. The Department of Heath has claims to having this method work. It has been implemented in over fifty sites across the states and statistically has proven to lower killings and shooting by forty one to seventy three percent. This method seems to have proven its effectiveness but the downside to it is that there are not enough sites, because of the funding behind it, it takes longer to actually implement it and in the process death tolls will continue to rise. Possibly if the Cure for Violence Method teams up and combines forces with the Mental Health field then there maybe a way to accelerate treatment. Counseling can be provided as preventative measures for those who are at risk of becoming a victim, perpetrator, and witness. Access to extra curricular healthy activities will allow the community to become occupied with positivity and this may eventually eliminate negativity that generates these violent urges.
Violence like any other disease, has affected everyone in society in some way shape or form. Either they are witness to it, experienced it as a victim, or are the perpetrator. In my family’s case, we are the victims. Just one month ago my husband was shot during an argument with another individual who suffered from a mild mental illness. My husband’s temper caused the argument to escalate ultimately leading to his death. Now my daughter and I suffer the repercussions. I fear for my daughter’s safety constantly and thoughts of what would happen if the day came where she needed to defend herself. If programs such as these were funded well enough to expand across the states there may have been a possibility his death could have been avoided.
Violence is a serious matter that causes deterioration and destabilization of communities, and destroys families. It has an extraordinary ripple affect of destruction. Our natural instinct as humans is to pursue happiness and tranquility but with out a cure for violence families, and communities around the globe are doomed to suffer.