A man from Wodonga, Australia, has recently admitted to stabbing his own brother in an attack that occurred directly in the middle of town in front of several people. The stabbing, he explained, had been his response to a disagreement the brothers had earlier in the year. Indeed, instead of trying to resolve the situation through discussion or counselling, he chose to resort to violence – not as a last resort to win the argument but as a first response. The mind is baffled by his behaviour. But news and social situations have long shown that violence is, more often than not, the sole and primary reaction to adverse events regardless of your education and lifestyle. Whether it’s a pair of blokes pushing each other in the middle of the street or a cornered Syrian woman who tries to stop Lindsay Lohan from following her family in Moscow – the event was shared as an Instagram video by Lohan herself – violence is an inherent part of most interactions. But can it be unlearned to make room for more meaningful communication?
Violence begets violence.
The Wodonga man who stabs his brother felt entitled to his action. The details of the previous altercation that has led to the stabbing are not known; but one can assume that the man would have felt attacked, or even threatened, by his brother. Similarly, the recent video shared by Lohan of her altercation with a Syrian family reveals that her persistence and intrusion into the privacy of a family would have been the trigger that caused the punch. Consequently, acting as a middle-man to offer alternative responses can reduce the risks of violent retribution. Helping others to deal with perceived violence in a peaceful way, such as accompanying victims of crimes, can make a difference. Can you be a social worker with a criminal justice degree? The answer is yes, and criminal social workers can help to guide victims before the violent cycle begins.
Indeed, violence is often the preferred method to resolve a conflict. Aggression comes in a variety of forms, from physical to emotional violence, but its purpose remains the same. The desire to end the conflict, through a reaction to pain, threats or via asserting dominance calls for a violent response. However, at its core, violence is guided by a sense of inferiority. Whether you threatened like the stabbing man or hostile like a Syrian mother, violence returns the position of weakness by creating pain – physical, material or emotional. I win because YOU hurt.
One can only hope that the popularity of recorded media that are shared online will transform aggressivity in the long term. Indeed, as acts of violence are exposed to a web audience, they become viral. It’s not just the action of a moment of anger; It’s a scene that is filmed, shared and booed. When big brother sees the violence, there is no escaping the consequences. A moment of rage can affect the victim and the attacker forever.
Unlearning violence is a challenging process for everyone. Aggressivity is a natural reaction to being stuck in a weak position. Nevertheless, through professional support, understanding of the specific triggers of each individual and the knowledge that you are being watched at all times, violence in the society could be eventually tackled and reduced.