Violence and the Prevention of Violence

Violence and the Prevention of Violence

Violence and the Prevention of Violence

Violence and the Prevention of Violence


Under the aegis of the two grandes dames of international studies in psychology, 23 experts examine violence in all of its multivarious forms around the world. They find that it is present in practically every society, at every socioeconomic level, and in every age group. The first group of essays look at violence as a societal phenomenon--its motivational aspects as related to, for example, terrorism or machismo. The second group of essays discuss violence involving children--incest, trauma, delinquency, school violence, and the death penalty for youths. The last section looks at adult violence, particularly within the family. Marital violence, domestic violence, substance abuse, women and crime, and maltreatment of elders are all presented. The consensus of the study is that the eradication of violence is essential to a better world and is possible. Proof of its possibility is given in the concluding description of life in Ladakh, a peaceable society of Tibetans in northwestern India.


Lenore E. A. Walker

Violence still exists around the world today despite the many attempts to eradicate it from our lives. Most violence is used to obtain power and control over other people. Sometimes the violence is state sponsored and used to obtain control over territory as well as people. Sometimes it is used randomly to assert one's individuality. Sometimes it is used to terrorize those who are also loved within one's family. Those who use violence may bully, intimidate, verbally insult, sexually coerce, and physically harm others into submission. Various forms of violence are described in this book.

During the past twenty years feminist psychology has analyzed violence from a perspective different from that of other psychological theoretical frameworks. Women now recognize that they are more likely than men to be battered and raped by men. United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics indicate that 95 percent of all reported domestic violence is committed by men against women (Straus & Gelles, 1988). Sexual abuse is more likely to be committed by an adult male against an adult female. Only in the case of child abuse are more males than females reported abused; and when the abuse is sexual, over 90 percent of perpetrators are males who abuse both male and female children. When women began to believe the system would do something to help stop the violence, they reported the crimes. Once police began making arrests in domestic violence cases, the jails became overflowing (Walker & Corriere, 1991). Gender analysis of violence is critical to understanding and controlling world violence.

Those studying child abuse and battered women have found that a little boy who watches his father batter his mother is 700 times more likely to use violence in his own life than is the child who has no abuse in his or her home. If that little boy is also abused himself, the risk for his learning to use violence is raised to 1,000 times the norm (Straus, Gelles, & Steinmetz, 1980). Such a boy . . .

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