As a society, we have been inundated lately with stories in the news about bullying – including, most recently, the tragic incident of a special needs student in Chicago who was bullied, taunted, tortured by four assailants. We know by now that all abuse is connected and that one type of abuse begets another, but what if today we look beyond the headlines at the specific correlation between two very distinct types of abuse – bullying and domestic violence. If we can take the time to educate ourselves about the impact of abuse not only on the individual, but on society as a whole, we can begin to understand how to stop it.
Studies indicate that domestic violence is a breeding ground for more violence, meaning that children who experience violence in the home grow up to exhibit it. Men who as children witnessed domestic violence are twice as likely to use violence toward their partners and children as men who did not witness such violence. Children who experience violence at home are not just growing up to exhibit those same lifestyle choices as adults, but also as children and young adults they are bringing elements of this lifestyle to other children at school in the form of bullying. Victims of bullying and bullies alike (in both high school and middle school) are over four times more likely to have been physically hurt by a family member, and more than three times as likely to have witnessed violence in their family unit. Experts believe that children who are raised in abusive homes learn that violence is an effective way to resolve conflicts and problems.
Domestic violence plants the seed for bullying…bullying becomes a stepping stone to future domestic violence…and the cycle continues.
Every type of abuse is connected somehow to every other variety or form of abuse. To stop one, we must stop them all, but the good news is to stop one type, puts us one step closer to stopping all types, because abuse only stops when WE stop it, through awareness, education, and prevention.
Editor, Ask Lala