Friday, April 18, 2014

Violence in Society

School violence is believed by many to be one of the causes for the increasing number of suicides in Korea. In 2011, with the suicide of a student because of school  violence, we all became acquainted with this ever present evil. This is the topic of an article in the Kyeongyang magazine, written by a Catholic professor who is an authority in the field.

School violence has many different aspects: bodily injury, the threat of violence in person or through cyberspace, or any acts that are potentially or actually harmful, mentally or emotionally. One of the surveys showed that 35.3 percent of violent incidents were verbal, 16.5 percent involved group bullying, 11.5 percent violence and confinement, 9.7 percent cyber abuse, 9.2 percent taking away possessions,  5.3 percent involved forcing others to do errands, 3.5  percent sexual abuse. Except for cyber abuse, which increased, the rest were similar to the  previous year.

Nearly 30 percent of the perpetrators of the abuse say it was merely a prank, 24 percent say they did not like the person, 10 percent had no reason, 4.5 percent did it to release stress and vent their resentment.

The professor asks what can be done? Although  violence takes place in the schools it is not a problem that the school alone can solve. The violence that we have in society infiltrates the school environment. Many of those who are responsible for bullying say that it was only a joke. This kind of thinking, she says, is the most dangerous because it is the most difficult to deal with.

Though we have been insensitive to violence in the society for too long, there are those who say we are   needlessly sensitive to violence in society. The professor feels there is a need to  give this topic much thought.  We need to be sensitive to any violence that we see in the society. We have violence in the home, in the school and in the mass media, and have become insensitive to it and consider it a natural part of life.

A change to  the system does not solve the problems that we have in the school. There has to be in many cases a change in the way we think. Since my own child is not a bully, many parents say, they feel there is no need for a widespread societal concern. This thinking has to change, for all of us are potential victims of bullying. When we are an unconcerned spectator we are a perpetrator. We all have to be participators in doing away with the violence that we see. The professor quotes from James 4:17: " When a person knows the right thing to do and does no do it, he sins."

The words that we use do not only  present to others our  thoughts and feelings, but form our own    thoughts and feelings. Our children's words are very coarse.  Jargon and vulgarity is used often without anything being said;  they do not hear words of warmth, encouragement and words that give life. Parents do not make the effort to correct the words of  the children to the degree that they encourage them to study. In the schools there is a need on the part of  teachers to avoid using any type of vulgarity or coarseness in  speech.

In conclusion, she finishes with the thought that words contain our values and  our beliefs. The students in school and in families are learning more from the words they hear than from the written word and the books they read.

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