Abuse happens to other people. Abuse only happens in “those” families. In the evolutionary spectrum, people who become victims of abuse are Darwinian failures, part of a genetic line unlucky enough to have been stamped with the violence gene. Not the problem of upstanding people of good quality.
I understand well enough that if you are not exposed to it, abuse of any kind seems foreign and incomprehensible and there is very little to encourage someone to navigate the ugly waters of the dark underbelly of society if they don’t have to. Understanding abuse and what affect it has on you requires turning around for just a second and facing. It. No surprise that it’s something few of us want to do.
So I’ll open a small window into what abuse does to society and what it likely does to you regardless of how far away from its effects you feel you are. When I planned to write this blog, I knew what I would find. But I wasn’t prepared for the flood of information that met me on the internet.
Imagine the financial cost of dysfunction and how it manifests itself. Crime. Robbery, assault, identity theft, murder, drug use, drug sales, drug production. Begin with the cost of police protection, insurance rates going up, private and government recovery from vandalism, destruction and theft. Then consider the cost of maintaining a court system, legal aid, and lawyer’s fees.
Add the cost of injuries from crime in the form of insurance and disability. Add to that the loss of income and the loss of spending power due to those same injuries.
And finally consider the place where crime reaches a crossroads, becoming a multi-billion dollar monument to failures. Prison.
The following links show a direct connection between abuse and the process of becoming a convict. I find it telling that government agencies, not prone to going out on a limb, felt that a study was warranted by the correlation between abuse and criminal status. Please review the following links:
According to a number of posts such as this one the prison population doubled in the 1980’s:
Is the assumption that abuse is linked to crime and all of its associated evils a leap of faith or common sense? I consider the latter to be more realistic.
What this means to you, to me, to all of us is that part of the rotting foundation of our society begins and ends with abuse and horrific childhoods. Imagine that we start as clean slates, no pre-conceptions, no fears, no entrenched reactions to certain stimuli. Imagine a puppy. Give it love one day and kick it the next day. After a while you’ll have one confused angry puppy. The dog won’t evaluate the danger of anyone he meets; he’ll react as if the worst case scenario had occurred. He’ll bite and attack anyone he doesn’t know.
Imagine a child, brutalized sexually or physically. Imagine being in a pressure cooker where there is never anyone to turn to, where the fear never ends. Imagine enduring pain and horror for years and knowing that no one will come and save you. That the best you can do is save yourself, that you are the only one you can count on. That the world doesn’t care and that you owe the world nothing for what it’s put you through. Imagine the brain, in its cleaver convoluted way, that can make the most twisted view of reality true in your mind, reinforcing its lie as the atrocities visited up you grow until there is no other truth.
Of course this is a child’s view of a harsh reality. But a child’s view gels and becomes a world view, unchangeable and never questioned. And eventually it isn’t a view at all. It’s an explosion waiting to happen, barely understood by the very person who explodes in anti-social rage. And it’s control of that rage in the end that becomes a remote concept, not worth considering or understanding.
Not all abused victims become this kind of nightmare; millions of them refuse to repeat the awful storm of confusion and pain that they experienced. For some, dysfunctional parents are a negative example that tells then, point for point, what not to do.
But not everyone has the resolve or the possible places of refuge to dodge the bullet of complete meltdown. In the end you will likely find these same people breaking into your house, or attacking you. And eventually, you’ll find them in the court system and eventually, in jail.
So when you are having a bitching session about the decline of society and the fact that the government is bleeding money at your expense, look towards the little child who lives next door to you who never says much and spends a lot of time out of school for mysterious ailments and injuries that no one can quite explain. Or the small boy who lives in the house where the cops keep showing up for domestic violence calls, the same house where screaming and the sounds of violence are a daily occurrence. Watching abuse can do as much damage as experiencing it.
Those children, and there will be millions of them, may end up costing you. Costing you tax money, costing you an increase in insurance premiums. Costing you your life.
And when you look at “those” people who have the lack of grace to be violent and twisted and you think that it has nothing to do with you or the society you live in, take another look.