Let's Build a Better World Free of Violence

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Did you know that violence can affect all forms of human development? Violence creates disruption and fear. A person who is a victim of violence lives in a constant flight or fight state of mind making it harder to focus on other things such as eating healthy and sleeping. Violence also harms the socioeconomic condition of society, making it harder for individuals to access education and health services.  

This is why the United Nations has recognized the importance of eradicating violence. According to the UN, Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.

Glamorizing Violence in the Media

The sad part is that the media, first in the cinemas and now in popular shows on Netflix, Hulu, and HBO, have played their role in romanticizing and normalizing violence. From a very early age, we are exposed to all forms of violence, to the point that we wrongly believe in the fantasy of street fights, gun-related violence, and even sexual violence. TV shows such as Euphoria, Vampire Diaries, Disney's Moon Knight, and The Mandalorian all have forms of violence. 

The media has also constructed a social image of what a victim of sexual violence should look like. Nearly all victims of sexual abuse in television and film are innocent wealthy or middle-class white female characters. This image of the "normal" victim of sexual assault created by the media makes victims of other races, genders, sexualities, and socioeconomic backgrounds appear less significant. 

Likewise, the media often creates stereotypes of the aggressors or villains that can damage the way we perceive groups of people different from our own. 

Anyone can be a victim of violence, no matter their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. 

Violence in the Real World: 

a. Violence Against Children

Not all children are fortunate enough to live and grow in a loving and caring environment. Unfortunately, every day at least one child is a victim of physical punishment and/or psychological aggression, usually at the hands of a caregiver. Or, in some instances, children are being forced to work long hours, resulting in abuse and exploitation. 

These acts are not limited to developing countries. Even in places like the United States and Canada, some children are victims of violence and neglect. This is why governments, schools, and other institutions need to help and protect children's rights. 

What can you do to help if you or a friend are victims of violence? 

  1. Tell someone. If you are the victim or are a witness to violence, tell someone. 
  2. Take all violence and abuse seriously. It is not a game, and it should never be part of a game to be physically or verbally abusive. 
  3. Take a stand. If you see violence, stand against it, but don't put yourself in danger. 
  4. Remember, putting others down doesn't raise you up. 
  5. Be a friend. You never know who can need your help. 

b. Homicides

A homicide happens when one person kills another. Reasons for homicides range from domestic disputes to interpersonal violence, to violent conflicts over land resources, intergang violence over turf or control, and predatory violence and killing by armed groups. 

Homicides happen at a global and regional level, and each country reports its homicide rates every year. Japan remains one of the countries with the lowest level of homicides in the world. This could be due to cultural learnings, government regulations, and views around violence. However, in Western countries, the media perpetuates homicides in film and TV as a false solution to world problems. We need to better understand as societies the positive outcomes that come with dialogue and resolution instead of violence. And we need to work together to reduce all forms of violence and related death rates across all countries by 2030.

c. Conflict-Related Deaths

Conflict-related deaths are the number of deaths per 100,000 people from war, conflict, and terrorism-related victims. A war can be defined as an intense armed conflict between states, governments, societies, or paramilitary groups. Wars are characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and high mortality rates. War zones are terrible places to be and are often the epicenter of violence. 

In wars, there are no winners. Both children and adults, men and women, are victims of violence during war. Furthermore, wars tear families apart, hinder economic development, and impact the education of countless children.

Wars Now - Ukraine 

On Thursday, 24th February, Russia invaded Ukraine. This conflict is still taking place today. Girls and boys and regular people just like you have fled their homes, schools, and jobs, searching for a safe place. In response, people from all over the world have come together to show humanitarian support for the people of Ukraine. 

According to the UN, the conflict has displaced over 7.1 million people inside the country so far. In addition, over 5 million people from Ukraine have crossed into neighboring countries, Poland, Hungary, Moldova, and others.

You can find more details about the humanitarian crisis by visiting UNHCR

How to Help Ukraine 

Stay Informed: 

The first step anyone can take to help is learning about the issue and staying informed. In our digital age, information flows fast, so always make sure you read reputable and trusted sources of information and don't spread false news. However, please make sure you have the permission and consent from an adult before looking for information online. Finally, take the opportunity to talk with your parents, discuss the situation in Ukraine and as a family, and come up with ways to help. 

Some reputable sources include* 

Stand With Ukraine shares about the situation in Ukraine along with ways you can support people across the country.

Kyiv Independent provides real-time information about the situations across all corners of Ukraine. On top of keeping up to date with the situation in Ukraine, you can also support journalists working with Kyiv Independent by donating to their GoFundMe page.

Ukraine World is an English-language multimedia project which works with over 300 international journalists. It produces articles, podcasts, video explainers, analyses, and books about Ukraine.

*from the UN website. Find a complete list of media sources here  

Donate if you can 

In times of crisis, basic necessities and life-saving humanitarian aid are essential. Unfortunately, some of the displaced children and families had to flee their homes in a hurry. Now they don't have a home, clothes, toys, or food. They need our help. We have previously discussed how important it is to take care of our resources by changing our consumption patterns. By donating some excess products, we can also become more conscious consumers while helping others at the same time. 

Some non-profit organizations include: 

Nova Ukraine currently delivers supply packages, including diapers, baby food, hospital supplies, and dry foods for a children's orphanage in Donetsk.

CARE International is responding to the crisis by working through partners on the ground to provide food, hygiene kits, psychosocial support services, water access, and cash access.

Choose Love's Ukraine appeal supports projects that provide vital aid and services to those still in and fleeing the country. Including emergency medical care, food, shelter, clothes, legal support, and mental health support.

Ukrainian Red Cross

Voices of Children provides no-cost psychological support to Ukrainian children. 

UNICEF Ukraine

UN Women

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Thinking Cap On

Let's work together to eradicate violence. It starts with you. If you are a victim or witness of violence, please tell an adult. Find someone who can help and make a stand against violence. 

Talk with your friends and family about the types of violence and how we can help prevent violence in all areas. It all starts with education and better comprehension of your needs and the needs of those around you.