The issue of violence continues

The issue of violence continues

With the release of second video showing professional football player Ray Rice attacking his girlfriend viciously and knocking her unconscious, much more public outcry - on both sides of the issue of violence - has hit the media.

It's disheartening to hear adults justify this type of attack, particularly women. But the bigger issue is the effect of violence on all of us, in particular, in the lives of children. A comprehensive report,HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT, published this week by UNICEF (the United Nations initiative to protect the rights of children worldwide) provided a statistical analysis of the impact of violence against children, and some of the specifics are unspeakable:

  1. In 2012 alone, homicide took the lives of 95,000 children and adolescents under age 20 - which was nearly 1 of 5 homicides that year.
  2. 6 in 10 children between the ages of 2 and 14 worldwide (almost a billion) are subjected to physical punishment by their caregivers on a regular basis.
  3. 1 in 3 students between the ages of 13 and 15 report involvement in one or more physical fights in the last year.
  4. More than 1 in 3 students between the ages of 13 and 15 experience bullying on a regular basis.
  5. One in 3 adolescents aged 11 to 15 in Europe and North America admit to having bullied others at school at least once in the past couple of months.
  6. One quarter of girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide (almost 70 million) report being victims of some form of physical violence since age 15.
  7. Over 120 million girls under the age of 20 (about 1 in 10) have been subjected to forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. Boys are also at risk, although data is not available for this statistic.
  8. One in 3 adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 have been the victims of any emotional, physical or sexual violence committed by their husbands or partners at some point in their lives.
  9. One-third of adults worldwide believe that physical punishment is necessary to properly raise or educate children.
  10. Half of all girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide (around 126 million) think a husband is sometimes justified in hitting or beating his wife.

Of the 6 strategies recommended by UNICEF to prevent and respond to violence against children, Chrysalis employs 5:

  1. Support parents, families, and caregivers.
  2. Help children and adolescents manage risks and challenges.
  3. Change attitudes and social norms that encourage violence and discrimination.
  4. Promote and provide support services for children.
  5. Implement laws and policies that protect children.
  6. Conduct research and collect data.

Chrysalis knows, and research supports, that supportive, responsive relationships with caring adults early in life can prevent or reverse the damage done by violence. That is the reason for Chrysalis After-School, our Roundtables public education programs, and our Women's Alliance education sessions.

If you'd like to read the entire study (200 pages!): Hidden in plain sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children.