It’s fortunate for a large portion of the population that violence has no presence in their lives. They can go about their day-to-day business without ever having to ponder issues pertaining to emotional, sexual, or physical violence.
Of course, that’s not the case for others, as it always has been and likely always will be. Just go down to Harbour Grace provincial court on a Monday, and chances are you will come across multiple cases involving assault.
The scenarios can vary. Some might involve drugs, disagreements, or long-standing disputes. Siblings, couples, friends, random strangers — there’s no obvious pairings when it comes to the parties involved.
February is Violence Prevention Month in Newfoundland and Labrador. Whether dedicating a month to the cause of increasing awareness about violence does a great deal of good may be debatable, but so long as it makes one person think twice about causing harm to another, it’s worthwhile.
According to the provincial government, statistics show that females experience the highest rates of violence. In a press release it came out with last year, it said of the 218,000 women in Newfoundland and Labrador over the age of 15, over 100,000 of them will experience at least one incident of sexual or physical violence in their lifetime.
That is an incredibly alarming number. It’s astounding to think almost half of the female population in this province will at some point in their life be at risk.
A fundamental issue when it comes to violence of any sort is respect. If people have the decency to respect each other’s existence as caring individuals looking out for one another, violence should not be an issue.
Also at play is the matter of turning a blind eye to the problems of others. It’s certainly not ideal to bring one’s self into the middle of another person’s nasty affairs, but if violence is involved, there are worse things a person can do than reaching out to offer an ear and voice of support.
The roots of violence are complicated and impossible to fully address in 13 inches of newspaper copy, but the need to take ownership of the issue is paramount. Set a good example for those around you by being the best person you can be, particularly in the eyes of children, who learn from the generations ahead of them how to properly behave.
The province is working on a Violence Prevention Initiative to identify long-term solutions to violence. Let’s hope it brings some concrete, visionary ideas to make this province safer for everyone.