Violence and the Negative Consequences on Mental Wellbeing

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

Violence is one of the most primitive behaviors  of human beings, and this behavior results in damage to the physical and emotional health of both the victims and the victimizer. Why?

The World Health Organization defines violence in the WRVH as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation [1] ”. Merriam-Webster [2]  defines violence as “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage or destroy”. Cambridge Dictionary [3]  states that violence “are actions or words that are intended to hurt people”.

According to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador [4] , there are nine types of violence and abuse:

  1. Physical Violence: Physical violence occurs when someone uses a part of their body or an object to control a person’s actions.
  2. Sexual Violence: Sexual violence occurs when a person is forced to unwillingly take part in sexual activity.
  3. Emotional Violence: Emotional violence occurs when someone says or does something to make a person feel stupid or worthless.
  4. Psychological Violence: Psychological violence occurs when someone uses threats and causes fear in an individual to gain control.
  5. Spiritual Violence: Spiritual (or religious) violence occurs when someone uses an individual’s spiritual beliefs to manipulate, dominate or control that person.
  6. Cultural Violence: Cultural violence occurs when an individual is harmed as a result of practices that are part of her or his culture, religion or tradition.
  7. Verbal Abuse: Verbal abuse occurs when someone uses language, whether spoken or written, to cause harm to an individual.
  8. Financial Abuse: Financial abuse occurs when someone controls an individual’s financial resources without the person’s consent or misuses those resources.
  9. Neglect: Neglect occurs when someone has the responsibility to provide care or assistance for an individual but does not.

There are some risk factors linked with violence [5] :

  • Individual factors: Low IQ, history of early aggressive behavior, poor behavioral control, exposure to violence and conflict in the family, involvement with drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, etc.
  • Family factors: Harsh, lax, or inconsistent disciplinary practices; low parental involvement, poor family functioning, parental substance abuse or criminality, etc.
  • Peer and social factors: social rejection, poor academic performance, association with delinquent peers, low commitment to school and school failure.
  • Community factors: High level of family disruption, high level of transiency, diminished economic opportunities, low levels of community participation, etc.

According to BBC News [6] , “incomplete data released by the FBI, violent crime fell by an estimated 1% in 2021 compared with the previous year. However, the number of murders increased by more than 4%”. Additionally, “in 2000, there were over 500 violent offences recorded per 100.000 people”. On the other hand, sexual violence affects millions of Americans; every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted; the majority of sexual assault victims are under 30: 15% age 12-17, 54% age 18-34, 28% age 35-64% and 3% age 65 and older [7] .

How can we prevent or stop the violence [8] ?

  1. Tell someone.
  2. Take all violence and abuse seriously.
  3. Take a stand.
  4. Be an individual.
  5. Take back the power.
  6. Remember, putting others down doesn’t raise you up.
  7. Wrong 24/7. Violence and abuse of any type that happens at any time is wrong, period.
  8. Be a friend, help the person who is being abused.
  9. Spread the word. Comfort the person who was hurt and make it known that what happened was not fair or deserved.
  10. Stay cool. Try not to respond to violence with anger.

Therefore, if you are a victim of any type of violence and consider that it is causing problems in your emotional wellbeing, do not hesitate to contact a friend or family member to tell what is happening to you and, if you consider that you need professional support, please contact Neighbors’ Consejo [9] , we are ready to support you.











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