Troubled Times

How can people come together to stop the violence before it happens?

Up to now, most of our attention has been on helping the victim after the abuse - preventing things from happening is fairly new territory. To prevent violence from happening we have to change our attitudes and beliefs about what it means to be male or female, about how other people live and love, and to think for ourselves and with respect. Too often we pay attention to the messages we see in movies, TV, magazines, video games or follow others and don't think for ourselves..

 If Not Us – Who?

Violence prevention is the responsibility of all of us.

We need to involve everyone in our community (schools, neighborhoods, businesses, youth groups, churches).

 If Not Now – When!

You can make a difference in your school or neighborhood. (refer to Take Action page)

So what are you waiting for????

Where Does Violence Come From?

To make the peace, we have to begin looking at what violence is, where it comes from, and why it happens.

Martin Luther King Jr. stated that “Violence is anything that denies human integrity, and leads to hopelessness and helplessness.”

Using this definition, we have all experienced some form of violence in our lives – some more than others. Some people who experience violence, will turn their anger, resentments, and frustration on others and some times people direct violence towards themselves.

We usually think of violence as an isolated incident without understanding what caused the violence.

We know that most violence happens between people who know each other. Homicide, sexual assault, family violence, fights between students – over 90% of all violence in this country is not done by strangers, but by friends, dates, family members, coworkers, or classmates. [1]

Most people think of this as a “woman’s issue” but it is not – it is also a man’s issue because 95% of all physical and sexual violence is committed by men hurting women, other men, or children whom they know. This certainly does not mean that all men are violent but we must understand that men’s violence against women affects ALL men and ALL women in one way or another.

So we need a new way of thinking about violence. We are not born violent. Violence happens when violence between people who know each other is tolerated, expected, or we make excuses for it.

The cycle of violence teaches us that power means competition and that we should strive for power OVER others - giving us the ability to control and to potentially hurt people.[2] We break the cycle when we define power as something we have WITH others – the power of cooperation – to work WITH one another, not against one another.

[1] Paul Kivel & Allen Creighton, Making the Peace: Violence Prevention in the Classroom. Alameda, CA : Hunter House Publishers, c1997

[2] Paul Kivel, Young Women’s Lives – p.48


"Where there is shouting, there is no true knowledge."
— Leonardo da Vinci