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Human Science of Violence: Resolving Problems Together Sciencesphere 2007: PAEP. Greg Malszecki, Ph.D LaMarsh Research Centre on Violence & Conflict Resolution & School of Kinesiology & Health Science in the new Faculty of Health, York University. Check out these videos online:.
Human Science of Violence: Resolving Problems TogetherSciencesphere 2007: PAEP Greg Malszecki, Ph.D LaMarsh Research Centre on Violence & Conflict Resolution & School of Kinesiology & Health Science in the new Faculty of Health, York University
Check out these videos online: • http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6849099227117974232&q=marines • http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5854686068870249151&q=Oklahoma+Full+Auto+Shoot • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4 • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxclp4RmxEc • Ask yourself: what is the cost of these solutions to society’s problems?
Violence: rough force in action, harmful action or treatment, illegal or unjust use of physical force to injure or damage persons or property • “Violence is the antithesis of creativity and wholeness. It destroys community and makes humanity impossible.” Martin Luther King, Jr. • “There can be no peace as long as there is grinding poverty, social injustice, inequality, oppression, environmental degradation, and as long as the weak and small continue to be downtrodden by the mighty and powerful.”---Dalai Lama
Violate: break, disrespect, offend, outrage, harm, exploit, destroy
What is Violence? • Use of physical force to hurt, damage, or kill a person, persons, property, communities, or earth • Domestic violence of spouse, children, family, elders either physical/sexual abuse • Interpersonal violence in schools, sports, dating, assault, rape, murder, war, ethnic cleansing • Corporate violence on workers, communities, ecology • Political violence of sexism/racism, policing, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and war • continuum of violence from within oneself (self-loathing/ threatening anxiety up to suicide) to assaults to murder to war/crimes against humanity as well as environmental degradation fueled by feelings of rage and culture of fear
Violence: can be directed toward the self or toward others or both • Most children know when there's bullying, but they don't report it. Bullying problems tend to fester under the surface. • A study of Toronto schools found that a bullying act occurred every seven seconds but teachers were aware of only four per cent of the incidents • Seven out of 10 teachers but only one in four students say that teachers almost always intervene. Close to 40 per cent of victims say they have not talked to their parents about the problem. • Ninety per cent of children say they find it unpleasant to watch bullying. • Peers are present in 85 per cent of bullying episodes on the playground and in the classroom. • First Steps • Hear No Evil, See No Evil.... • Lack of intervention implies that bullying is acceptable and can be done without fear of consequences. Bullies and their accomplices need to understand the harm they cause and that their behavior will not be tolerated at school. They can change.
Bullies can take the fun out of school where bullying happens most and turn something simple like a ride on the bus, stop at a locker, or walk tothe bathroom into a scary event that's anticipated with worry all day. • Children who are bullied often experience low self-esteem and depression, whereas those doing the bullying may go on to engage in more destructive, antisocial behaviours as teens and adults. Bullies, who often have been bullied themselves, may pick on others to feel powerful, popular, important, or in control. Often, they antagonize the same children repeatedly.Sadly, bullying is widespread. According to a U.S. 2004 poll of children, 86% of more than 1,200 9- to 13-year-old boys and girls polled said they've seen someone else being bullied, 48% said they've been bullied, and 42% admitted to bullying other kids at least once in a while.
The Different Ways Kids Bully • Bullying behaviour isn't always easy to define. Where do you draw the line between good-natured ribbing and bullying? Although teasing resembles bullying because it can prompt feelings of anger or embarrassment, teasing can be less hostile and done with humour, rather than harm. Teasing often promotes an exchange between people rather than a one-sided dose of intimidation.Although the black eye is a concrete sign that your child may be a victim of bullying, there are many different ways kids bully that aren't always as easy to spot:
Bullying continued… • Cyber bullying a relatively new phenomenon began surfacing as modern communication technologies advanced. Through email, instant messaging, Internet chat rooms, and electronic gadgets like camera cell phones, cyber bullies forward and spread hurtful images and/or messages. Bullies use this technology to harass victims at all hours, in wide circles, at warp speed. • Emotional bullying can be more subtle and can involve isolating or excluding a child from activities (i.e., shunning the victim in the lunchroom or on school outings) or spreading rumours. This kind of bullying is especially common among girls. Physical bullying can accompany verbal bullying and involves things like kicking, hitting, biting, pinching, hair pulling, or threats of physical harm. • Racist bullying preys on children through racial slurs, offensive gestures, or making jokes about a child's cultural traditions. • Sexual bullying involves unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive or inappropriate comments. • Verbal bullying usually involves name-calling, incessant mocking, and laughing at a child's expense. • Also, despite the common notion that bullying is a problem mostly among boys, both boys and girls bully. But boys and girls can vary in the ways they bully. Girls tend to inflict pain on a psychological level. For example, they might ostracize victims by freezing them out of the lunchroom seating arrangements, ignoring them on the playground, or shunning them when slumber party invitations are handed out.Boys aren't as subtle and they can get physical. For example, boy bullies are more apt to insult their victims on the playground than ignore them. Instead of isolating a non-athletic victim during a gym class dodgeball game, they might take relentless aim and target the child throw after throw.
Bullying in CanadaFor almost two decades the PREVNet Scientific Directors and their colleagues have asked many children about their experiences with bullying and victimized or have bullied • Why Worry About Children and Youth Who are Victimized?Children and youth who are victimized are at risk for a range of emotional, behaviour and relationship problems including: • Low self-concept • School absenteeism • Depression • Stress-related health problems (e.g., headaches, stomach aches) • Social anxiety and loneliness • (Further) social withdrawal and isolation • Aggressive behaviours and bullying In the most extreme cases, suicidal thoughts and suicide • Why Worry About Children and Youth Who Both Bully and are Victimized?Children and youth who are involved both in bullying others and in being bullied by their peers experience the most serious emotional, behavioural, and relationship problems. The report problems associated with both bullying others and being victimized as listed above. These children and youth require the most intensive support. • http://www.prevnet.ca/
About PREVNet • The Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet) is a coalition of Canadians concerned about bullying. The primary goal of PREVNet is to translate and exchange knowledge about bullying to enhance awareness, to provide assessment and intervention tools, and to promote policy related to the problems of bullying. Through this comprehensive and authoritative website, PREVNet will disseminate knowledge about problems of bullying in a manner that is responsive to, and reflective of, the broadest diversity of community concerns in Canada. The website is designed for multiple audiences - children and youth, parents, educators, health professionals, media, public and private organizations, and members of communities throughout Canada.This website is designed to: • Translate empirical findings, promote awareness and understanding. • Provide standardized assessment and evaluation tools. • Provide guidance on evidence-based intervention strategies. • Guide the development of policy and advocacy to reduce bullying problems among Canadian children and youth. • PREVNet is designed to be the authoritative link providing empirically based research and information on PREVNet's four pillars: Education, Assessment, Intervention, and Policy.
How often have you been victimized in the last two months? Source: Craig, W.M., Pepler, D.J., Jiang, D., & Connolly, J. (in preparation). Victimization in Children and Adolescents: A developmental and relational perspective.
Myth: Bullying does not cause any serious harm. • Fact: Bullying is associated with a range of physical and mental health problems, as well as suicide, educational problems, antisocial problems, and relationship problems. For example: • Victimized children are more likely to report headaches and stomach aches than non-victimized children (Due et al., 2005; Williams, et al., 1996). Children who both bully and are victimized may be at greatest risk for physical health problems. • Victimized children are more likely to report anxiety and depressive symptoms than children uninvolved in bullying (Due et al, 2005; Kaltiala-Heino et al, 1999). Of greatest concern is the fact that psychiatric problems associated with involvement in bullying tend to persist into later life (Kumpulainen & Rasanen, 2000). • A high risk of suicidal ideation (having thoughts of suicide) is found among children who are bullied, who bully others, and who are involved in both roles (Kaltiala-Heinoet al., 1999). • Both victimized children and children who bully are at risk for poor school functioning, in terms of poor attitudes towards school, low grades, and absenteeism (Rigby, 2003; Tremblay, 1999). • 20-25% of frequently victimized children report bullying as the reason for missing school (Rigby, 2003). • Youth who bully others are more likely to use alcohol and drugs (Pepler et al., 2002), and are at risk for later criminality. For example, 60% of boys who bully others in elementary school had criminal records by age 24 (Olweus, 1991).
Signs of Bullying OthersChildren and youth who bully may show behaviours or emotional signs that they are using power aggressively: • Little concern for others’ feelings • Does not recognize impact of his/her behaviour on others • Aggressive with siblings, parents, teachers, friends, and animals • Bossy and manipulative to get own way • Possessing unexplained objects and/or extra money • Secretive about possessions, activities, and whereabouts • Holds a positive attitude towards aggression • Easily frustrated and quick to anger
Lens on the Child or Youth’s Relationships: Signs of Bullying OthersChildren who bully others often experience power and aggression in their own relationships or in those close to them: • Parents may model use of power and aggression by yelling, hitting, rejecting child • Parents may model use of power and aggression with each other • Siblings may bully child at home • Child has friends who bully and are aggressive • Child has trouble standing up to peer pressure • Teachers or coaches may model use of power and aggression by yelling, excluding, rejecting • Few opportunities to shine and show talents at home, school, or in the community (positive power).
Lens on the Individual Child or Youth: Signs of VictimizationChildren and youth who are being victimized often show a change in behaviour and/or emotions: • Not wanting to go to school or participate in extra-curricular activities • Anxious, fearful, over-reactive • Exhibits low self-esteem and makes negative comments about him/herself • Headaches and stomach aches • Lower interest and performance in school • Loses things, needs money, reports being hungry after school • Injuries, bruising, damaged clothing, broken things • Unhappy, irritable, little interest in activities • Trouble sleeping, nightmares, bedwetting • Expresses threats to hurt himself/herself or others
Lens on the Child or Youth’s Relationships: Signs of Victimization • Children and youth who are victimized often lack relationships in which they can experience positive identity, power, and independence: • Parents may be overprotective, restrictive • Siblings may bully child at home • Lonely and isolated at school • Few friends at school or in neighbourhood • Teachers may be unaware of child’s strengths and challenges and therefore unresponsive to needs. • Few opportunities to shine and show talents at home, school, or in the community (positive power)
World Health Organization: Suicide Prevention • In the year 2000, approximately one million people died from suicide: a "global" mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds. • In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years (both sexes); these figures do not include suicide attempts up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide. • Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of countries, in both developed and developing countries. • What do you know about youth suicide in Canada?
Canadian Children’s Rights Council: Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care • The male:female ratio for suicide risk was 3.8:1. In both males and females, the greatest increase between 1960 and 1991 occurred in the 15-to-19-year age group, with a four-and-a-half-fold increase for males, and a three-fold increase for females but rising significantly! • In a survey of 15,000 grade 7 to 12 students in British Columbia, 34% knew of someone who had attempted or died by suicide; 16% had seriously considered suicide; 14% had made a suicide plan; 7% had made an attempt and 2% had required medical attention due to an attempt. • Suicide is most often a process, not an event. Eight out of ten people who die by suicide gave some, or even many, indications of their intentions.
Who is at risk? • Most people feel suicidal at some time in their lives. The overwhelming desire to escape from pain can be relieved when the problem or pressure is relieved. Learning effective coping techniques to deal with stressful situations can help. • In Canada, suicide is the second highest cause of death for youth aged 10-24. Each year, on average, 294 youths die from suicide. Many more attempt suicide. Aboriginal teens and gay and lesbian teens may be at particularly high risk, depending on the community they live in and their own self esteem. • For every youth suicide completion, there are nearly 400 suicide attempts. Average figures hide the existence of certain population groups which are at extremely high risk for suicide: including prison inmates, persons with certain mental health problems, and Natives. (294 x 400= 117, 600 attempts, not incl. driving accidents) • Suicide rates in the Canadian Native population are more than twice the sex-specific rates, and three times the age-specific rates of non-Native Canadians. Among native youth, the problem is epidemic.
Interventions & Challenges • Strategies involving restriction of access to common methods of suicide have proved to be effective in reducing suicide rates • There is compelling evidence indicating that adequate prevention and treatment of depression, alcohol and substance abuse can reduce suicide rates. • School-based interventions involving crisis management, self-esteem enhancement and the development of coping skills and healthy decision making have been demostrated to reduce the risk of suicide among the youth. • Worldwide, the prevention of suicide has not been adequately addressed due to basically a lack of awareness of suicide as a major problem and the taboo in many societies to discuss openly about it. In fact, only a few countries have included prevention of suicide among their priorities. • Reliability of suicide certification and reporting is an issue in great need of improvement. • It is clear that suicide prevention requires intervention also from outside the health sector and calls for an innovative, comprehensive multi-sectoral approach, including both health and non-health sectors, e.g. education, labour, police, justice, religion, law, politics, the media.
Youth violence in Canada • Every year, approximately 1 in 10 youth comes into contact with the police for violations of the Criminal Code or other federal statutes Most=property crimes. • Therefore, it is only a small minority of young people who become involved with the young offender system. Data collected in 1995 indicate that, of these youth, 19% were charged with a violent offence. • Recent research on Canadian university and college campuses found between 16% and 35% of women surveyed had experienced at least one physical or sexual assault by a boyfriend in the previous 12 months. Approximately 45% of the women surveyed reported they had been sexually abused since leaving high school.9 Although this research used a sample over the age of 19, the findings are applicable to the youth population. Recent qualitative research with a sample of 13 to 17 year-old girlfriend abusers suggests that youth violence against female dating partners is an issue in primary and high schools.
How common is youth violence? • By the age of 13, approximately 55 percent of boys and 27 percent of girls reported having been in a fight • According to a new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, approximately one in ten students reported involvement in all of the following behaviors within the past 12 months: assault, fighting at school, having serious thoughts of committing suicide, and carrying a weapon. In addition, approximately 25 percent of students reported being bullied at school since the beginning of the school year and approximately 33 percent of students reported having bullied someone else. • The general consensus within the field is that youth violence is something that is learned and therefore can be prevented. • Violent conduct comprises a wide range of behaviours, from bullying and verbal abuse, through fighting, to rape and homicide. In Canada in 1997, there were 58 homicidal deaths among young men aged 15–24 years, making homicide the fourth leading cause of death (after unintentional injuries, suicide and cancer) in this age group. More recent concerns have been triggered by escalating rates of early childhood aggression, violence perpetrated by female youth and suicide attributed to distress from bullying.1
Inadequate Theories of Violence • Biological explanations: genetics, drives, testosterone, teeter-totter brain, no signals • Behavioural explanations: human instinct a la Freud, learned aggression, frustration, wrong parenting, violent subcultures, ethnic disposition, faulty role-playing, media-generated imagery, psychological deficiencies, criminal personality • Evolutionary explanations: birthing trauma, animal regression, differentiating sexes, “man-the-hunter”, historical imprints, moral/legal civilizing processes & definitions, violent cultures
Problems in these Approaches • Violence has a gender: males excel at it! • Biological explanations do not account for individual agency/cross-cultural patterns • Behavioural explanations do not account for the complex social causes of violence, e.g. unemployment, denial of violence, media • Violence does not occur spontaneously • Violence often instrumental to “prove” masculinity by males, yet not all males use it
Recent Examples • School shootings in Canada & USA • Murder of native women: gender hate & racist targeting • Gang shootings in Toronto and major cities • Domestic violence & child assault reporting • Catholic priests convictions for pedophilia • Impact of cumulative increase in media violence • Light penalties for environmental criminals • Increased need for respect in the face of equalizing of sexes: Montreal Massacre’89, Dawson College last year • Severe widening of gap between rich & poor along ethnic lines • At the beginning of 2003, there were thirty wars (conflicts claiming more than 1000 lives) • Violence increasing, not decreasing: torture “acceptable” • When did you last witness someone bullied at school or home?
Exploring New Ways of Knowing: Science & Humanities/Values & Society • New Century looks very much like old one: why? • As far as social science’s impact on quality of life for the general population, the world is still flat • Of the $9.2 billion in new federal expenditures since 1998, only approximately $1 billion, or 11%, has funded research in the humanities and social sciences. • Money spent on weapons research, technical developments, and conspicuous consumption reinforces denial of social analysis and cripples research initiatives • Male supremacist ideology neglects study of violence as “human nature” • Omitted research on spanking as harmful abuse • The scientists investigating the human context of violence is miniscule compared vast number of researchers in the physical & life sciences, i.e. ‘non-human science’
Case Study: Testosterone=Aggression • Robert Sapolsky, “Tesosterone rules!” (1998): t-levels cannot predict which males will be violent • ‘boys will be boys’—but environmental triggers of aggression work to release the hormone into the system • Even if much higher levels are introduced, social environment plays a major role in subsequent behaviour • Biology is NOT destiny in the male: stereotype disproved in labs & field studies; “normal” N.A. males not violent • Even castration does not result in no aggression • Critical to remember the limits of biology: meaningless outside of the context of social factors of human milieu • All science is “human” science---we are both subjects/objects but this context is omitted from results
Preventing Violence James Gilligan (2000): almost every act of violence preventable, if it is an actual top priority • Abolish moral/legal approach as vicious cycle but treat it as a public health threat • Shame & perceived disrespect are triggers for violence—to restore self-esteem for males esp. • Social causes: relative poverty/jobless rate, caste rankings, shame culture, wars, gender role • Violence “proves” masculinity (as homophobia), i.e., use of force is a trait of a “real” man in public • Restorative strategies offer hope of resolution • Violent punishments increase violent behaviours
On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War & Society • Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (1996): most researchers + gen. public never recognize resistance to killing as nearly universal • Killing is traumatic: easier from a distance, psychiatric casualty rate in combat: 98% • Factors: demands of authority, group absolution, emotional distance, type of victim, killer’s predisposition, death-math: training, recent experiences, temper • What are we doing to our children? Media is actually de-sensitizing us, intensified by Internet & videogaming: the new numbness
What Every Person Should Know about War (2003) • Chris Hedges, NY Times war correspondent, authored War is a Force that gives us meaning • Bullets travel 730 m/s over a kilometre; 40% combat deaths = head/neck wounds • Of past 3400 years, humans have been entirely at peace for 8% of them • Between 1900-1990, 43 million soldiers died but 62 million civilians; in the 1990s, civilian deaths were between 75-90% of all war deaths • Most recruits MUST be trained to kill (Pavlovian & operant conditioning) • But killing humans requires training & abuse • See Gwynne Dyer’s doc: “Anybody’s Son Will Do”
Investigating War as Violence • Gwynne Dyer, War, New Edition (2004) • Joshua Goldstein, War & Gender (2001) • Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites (1997) • David Jones, Women Warriors (1997) • Joseph Kuypers, Man’s Will to Hurt (1992) • Glen Stassen, Just Peacemaking (1998) • Howard Zinn, Just War (2005)
Elimination of Violence • LaMarsh Research Centre on Violence & Conflict Resolution (York U.) • UN Declaration of Human Rights (1948) authored by John Peters Humphrey (Can.): no UNESCO = no PAEP! • York U. new student club “Health as a Bridge to Peace” promoting health locally & globally • Elizabeth Stanko, Violence Research Program, (London, England) • Frame all violence as a Health Issue in a culture of violence, not a “behavioural” one or one of ‘human nature’
UN Sec-Gen’s Study of Violence Against Children (June 2005) • Covers family, community, schools, media, other institutions + esp. vulnerable kids • Identifies gaps in research & stats info • “Evidence demonstrates that these violations…have serious & lifelong effects on children’s devel. & society as a whole” • “…what happens to you as a child will stay with you the rest of your life” 13 yr old girl
Situation Urgent: Global Priority • Annual estimates US $ billions: UN (1998) basic education for all humanity: 6 b. water/sanitation for all: 9 b. basic health/nutrition for all: 13 b. • Ice cream bought in EU: 11 b. • Pet Food costs in USA & Europe: 17 b. • Narcotic Drugs globally: 400 b. • Military Spending globally: 780 b.
Youth: Take a look at choices • What can you do to initiate dialogue in your circle of friends and school? • Have school-wide discussions about bullying & youth suicide; consult PREVnet website! • Turn attention to the cultural supports for hostility • Look at everyday rage instead of focus on weapons • VRP Site • Peace Brigades • War Child site • UNICEF • PAEP
LaMarsh Research Centre@YorkU • Focuses on violence, youth, & health • has Child/Youth Violence Research Group • Home of Canadian Initiative for Prevention of Bullying (develops awareness & tools) • Offers Brazilian Ball funds for Seed Grants & Research Development Grants aimed at reducing violence in the lives of children & youth, plus Graduate Awards for students
What to do? • Support anti-violence education and anti-bullying along with peace efforts & personal responses • Acknowledge the male gender of violence: key • Redefine theories by including social context • Take profit/pleasure out of pain: cruelty numbs • Destroy weapons and use of force: end fighting culture and refuse it as a solution to all conflict • Admit negative role of media: inform investors • Seek partnerships & promote health through absolute insistence on all essential human rights
Conclusion “What is conditioned can be deconditioned. Men can change” --Catherine Itzin “Witnessing violence teaches you violence and makes you hate.” --Adolescent, Sask. Youth in Care & Custody Network Violence begins with ignorance and ends with understanding.
“Spring when flowers burst out of hard patches of wintered land makes growth look so easy, but do not be fooled; growth is the process of staying with what seems futile and useless and ungiving and barren until it becomes something that we know was worth doing. Growth is the process of finally finding good where for a while no good seemed to be”—Joan Chittister, feminist theologian & ecologist