The one thing we must do to end male violence in America now and forever
Part 1: Name the problem correctly
We now have a verdict on the George Floyd case, but male violence continues and needs to be addressed. We don’t need experts to tell us that we live in a very violent country. The April 16, 2021 headline in the New York Times read: “An Incomplete List of Mass Shootings in the United States in 2021.” The article goes on to say: “The gun violence archive, which defines a mass shooting as one with four or more injured or killed without the perpetrator, counted more than 600 such shootings in 2020, compared with 417 in 2019. The carnage continued until 2021 147 mass shootings continued on April 16.
We hear the stories and are outraged and sad, but we still have questions to answer:
- Why is the US so violent?
- What is the main cause of violence?
- What can we do to end the violence in America?
Most people, including the experts, will say that the problems are complex and difficult to find solutions. I do not agree. I believe there is a simple solution worth considering. Simple doesn’t mean easy. It will take some time to resolve the issue, but we can start right away:
1. Name the problem correctly.
Instead of focusing on “gun violence” or “mass shootings” or “use of force by the police”, we need to recognize that this is the problem male violence. Yes, women can be violent, but most violent people are men.
2. Address the root cause of violence.
Humiliation is the root of male violence.
Caitlin Roper is a feminist activist. On a Huffington Post blog titled “Male Violence Is The World’s Worst Problem,” she says, “While many of us have been directly harmed by male violence, the threat alone is enough to keep women as a class in a state of fear , controlled, supple. However, when reporting on male violence, the mainstream media neglect to call it what it is. The headlines often mention the victim’s gender, while downplaying the sex of the perpetrator, if at all, if at all. “
Women are not the only victims of male violence or know that threats alone are enough to keep women in a state of fear. Ask a black man in America. But I agree with their main point: Male violence is the world’s worst problem.
What is the main cause of male violence? James Gilligan, MD, is one of the world’s foremost experts on violence and has spent his professional career with violent men. His experiences can help us understand that humiliation is at the root of male violence. In an interview with psychologist Rebecca Aponte, she first asked what made him work with violent men.
“That’s a good question,” said Dr. Gilligan. “I think the ultimate answer, like most important life choices people make, goes back to my earliest childhood. I grew up in a family with a father who was quite violent towards my two brothers and who he would really beat up. He would throw them across the room until I was really scared that he would accidentally kill one of them. “
Gilligan continued, “He was never arrested and no one has ever complained about child abuse or anything like that. People could see the bruises on my brothers, but no one would say a word. Without consciously intending to do so, I became interested in becoming a peacemaker and finding out how to prevent violence – how to stop it, or how to prevent it in the first place. “
We can imagine the humiliation of the brothers and the fear of humiliation of young James who witnessed the abuse.
When Dr. Gilligan started working in prisons, learning of abuse and humiliation that he never dreamed would exist. “What I found was that the most violent of them, and many of those who did not experience even the highest levels of violence, were exposed to levels of child abuse beyond what I had even thought of using this one Term to. The most violent people really were the survivors of deadly violence, either their own attempted murders by one of their parents or the actual murders of close family members, often killed by other family members right in front of their eyes. ”
When he worked in the prisons for more than 25 years, only one inmate attacked him a few times. “I was beginning to realize that each of these incidents had occurred under almost identical circumstances,” says Gilligan. “It was late afternoon, I was getting tired, I really wanted to go home to see my wife and family. I didn’t really listen to them fully and they didn’t respect my lack of attention. They managed to get my attention. Here’s how you do it – you hit someone, you’re sure to get their attention. “
Gilligan realized that disrespect and humiliation were at the core of male violence. “I have never seen a serious act of violence,” says Gilligan, “that has not been provoked by the experience of feeling ashamed, humiliated, disrespectful and ridiculous.” This was also the experience of Dr. Evelin G. Linder, Founding President of Studies on Human Dignity and Humiliation. In an article titled “Healing the Humiliation: From Reaction to Creative Action,” co-authored with Director Linda M. Hartling, they quote Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former Secretary-General of the United Nations. “All cruel and brutal things, even genocide, begin with the humiliation of an individual.” says Annan.
Linder and Hartling continue: “Violent aggression is the most devastating result of humiliation. Examples include incidents ranging from school shootings to suicide attacks. “They find that the origins of the humiliation that leads to violence begin with childhood trauma. “The victim of parental violence and abandonment is not only deeply humiliating, it also forces a child into a position where they feel deeply humiliated, devalued, and dehumanized.”
To prevent male violence, we need to get to the root of why men feel so humiliated that they want to harm others. In the second part of this article, I’ll examine how abused boys grow into abusive and violent men.
For information on how you can help stop the cycle of humiliation that leads to violence, send a message to [email protected] with “Cure Male Violence” in the subject line.
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