Imagining a world without violence


Imagine a threat that endangers the lives of well over a billion people. Even when it does not kill you, it may leave you with physical and emotional scars that last a lifetime.

You may be more prone to depression, anxiety, and dependence on alcohol and drugs. You may suffer sexual and reproductive health problems, including unintended pregnancy and HIV. You may also be at increased risk of developing diseases such as cancer. You may even be more likely to enter a life of crime.

Imagine that solutions exist to confront this threat, but countries and communities are either not aware of them, or are not willing to make the investments needed.

Such a threat does indeed exist, and its name is violence.

Violence shatters lives. It comes in many forms – against children and the elderly, among youth, between intimate partners. Many incidents of violence occur behind closed doors. Others occur in schools and workplaces and on the streets.

On Dec 11, the World Health Organization, together with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the United Nations Development Program, launched the inaugural Global Status Report On Violence Prevention 2014. The report, which provides data and information from 133 participating countries covering 88% of the world’s population, aims to put violence firmly in the spotlight and stimulate action to prevent it.

The statistics tell their own shocking story: Globally, homicide is the fourth leading cause of death for people aged 15–44 years. In 2012, an estimated 475,000 people were murdered, 80 percent of whom were male.

Beyond these fatalities, violence is widespread. One in four children has been physically abused, one in three women has been a victim of physical or sexual violence by a partner in her lifetime, and hundreds of thousands of young victims of violence receive emergency medical care each year.

The consequences of violence go far beyond the reach of families and communities, and have a profound impact on a nation’s ability to develop socially, economically, and politically.

Despite these grim statistics, there is hope. The Global Status Report On Violence Prevention 2014 indicates that rates of homicide have decreased globally by 16% since 2000, with every region of the world seeing a decrease of between 10 and 40%.

Yet, while countries are seeking ways to address violence, serious gaps remain, and much more needs to be done.

Today, only one-third of countries are implementing each of the 18 “best buys” for violence prevention measured in the report. These include home visitation and parenting education programs to prevent child maltreatment, life-skills training and school anti-bullying initiatives to prevent youth violence, social and cultural norms change to prevent violence against women, and caregiver support to prevent elder abuse.

The report also reviewed 12 laws relevant for violence prevention, and found that while 80 percent of countries had enacted each of those laws, only half had fully enforced them. These include laws against rape (including rape in marriage), weapons in schools, membership in gangs, and corporal punishment.

Providing care and support to victims of violence is of immense importance for reducing psychological trauma, helping victims heal, and ensuring that they don’t themselves become perpetrators of violence. Unfortunately, fewer than half of the countries surveyed offer mental-health services to address the needs of victims of violence.

In recent weeks, people of all ages in regions around the world have taken to the streets to protest violence. Citizens are speaking out against rape in India, alleged police involvement in gang-related killings in Mexico, and police brutality in the United States.

The international community has identified violence as a key issue that needs to be addressed within the context of the United Nation’s post-2015 development agenda. Draft goals include, for example, an end to violence against children, and the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.

It is understood that violence will not go away overnight, but if countries garner the political will needed to put the right programs in place, enhance and enforce laws, and strengthen services for victims, one could imagine families and communities – and perhaps entire societies – free from violence.

© The Mark News

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It is understood that violence will not go away overnight

Overnight? Try never. We can do our best to limit violence, but it will never be entirely eradicated.

If countries garner the political will needed to put the right programs in place, enhance and enforce laws, and strengthen services for victims, one could imagine families and communities – and perhaps entire societies – free from violence.

One can imagine it all they want, that doesn't mean it's a realistic expectation.

The problem with theories like this is that they give people unrealistic expectations, which causes people to react in untenable manners to various incidents. An example is this whole ISIS situation. People have seen too many movies where the good guys always win, and the bad guys always lose, and they make statements like ISIS should be bombed into the stone age. Well if it was that easy (or even possible), then six+ months of US attacks would have surely done it by now. But the reality is that it's not that easy.

People need to start realizing that there is a difference between ideal, and reality.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The human condition is simply and entirely a reflection of human nature. It has always been the same and will always be the same. Better to learn to protect yourself.

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The problem with most of these laws, is they impact non violent people or victims. Anti bully laws usually result in victims getting punished. No weapons, just taked weapons from non violent people. Punishing rape is good but the problem with rape and all other violence is the culture produces these animals. violence will never end, unless the world is going to demand cultures, religions, traditions and politics change, admit their culpability in raising boys into violent thugs, rapists and violent people.

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Basic human nature never really changes. The only way to get rid of all violence is to "rewire" the human race as it currently is into something very different.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Todd Topolski

culpability in raising boys into violent thugs, rapists and violent people.

And raising girls to want to marry such boys. Let's not forget that, too. Bet there are a fair number of military spouses on here. Or ones that want to marry the CEO that can bankrupt his competition. Just saying...

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Exactly. That a society ruled by women would be more peaceful is a myth because women will continue to put ruthless and violent men on a pedestal.

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Imagining a world without people and you can then Imagining a world without violence.

While there is people, there will always be violence.

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No violence would means we have reached a messianic era. We have not.

Jewish religion teaches Tikkun Olam. It means" repair the world" basically. WE keep trying, but have not gotten nearly as far as we would like.

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