Vi­o­lent thoughts

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

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.

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