The roots of the current U.S. culture of violence extend back to the unprecedented violence unleashed on this continent by European settlers in the 17th century. With the impunity that came with access to guns, belief in a God who favored them over others, and readily available justifications for violence, the settlers undertook a genocide of the native peoples.
The heavy hand of this culture of violence has always descended more heavily on some victims than others—not just on the native peoples but always on whoever the more recent immigrants are, on people of color, on non-Christians, and on women and children.
Consider the following facts about violence against women from the “National intimate partner and sexual violence survey (2011): data on abuse by intimate partner”:
- 32.9% of women reported physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime
- 24.3% of women reported severe physical violence in their lifetime
- 4% reported physical violence from an intimate partner within the past year
- 40.3% reported psychological aggression
- 10.4% reported psychological aggression in the past year
Growing up in a culture of violence, with its constant images of and justifications for violence and inhumanity, affects everyone. Children growing up in such a culture and women surviving in such a culture may respond to their experiences in ways that prolong their misery and make it easy for the more privileged segments of society to abuse them further.
Consider these facts about women in prison:
- Over 90% have experienced violence in their lives
- 33% report childhood sexual abuse
- More than 50% of the abused women report rape or attempted rape
Join your voice with proponents of an end to violence against women, which in turn would strengthen the resistance to violence against children and other living things.
Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology