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Human Science of Violence: Resolving Problems Together Sciencesphere 2007: PAEP


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Title: Human Science of Violence: Resolving Problems Together Sciencesphere 2007: PAEP

Human Science of Violence Resolving Problems
Together Sciencesphere 2007 PAEP
  • Greg Malszecki, Ph.D
  • LaMarsh Research Centre on Violence Conflict
  • School of Kinesiology Health Science in the new
  • Faculty of Health, York University

Check out these videos online
  • http//
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  • Ask yourself what is the cost of these solutions
    to societys problems?

Violence rough force in action, harmful action
or treatment, illegal or unjust use of physical
force to injure or damage persons or property
  • Violence is the antithesis of creativity and
    wholeness. It destroys community and makes
    humanity impossible. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • There can be no peace as long as there is
    grinding poverty, social injustice, inequality,
    oppression, environmental degradation, and as
    long as the weak and small continue to be
    downtrodden by the mighty and powerful.---Dalai

Violate break, disrespect, offend, outrage,
harm, exploit, destroy
What is Violence?
  • Use of physical force to hurt, damage, or kill a
    person, persons, property, communities, or earth
  • Domestic violence of spouse, children, family,
    elders either physical/sexual abuse
  • Interpersonal violence in schools, sports,
    dating, assault, rape, murder, war, ethnic
  • Corporate violence on workers, communities,
  • Political violence of sexism/racism, policing,
    ethnic cleansing, genocide, and war
  • continuum of violence from within oneself
    (self-loathing/ threatening anxiety up to
    suicide) to assaults to murder to war/crimes
    against humanity as well as environmental
    degradation fueled by feelings of rage and
    culture of fear

Where does the continuum of violence begin? What
is its end?
(No Transcript)
Violence can be directed toward the self or
toward others or both
  • Most children know when there's bullying, but
    they don't report it. Bullying problems tend to
    fester under the surface.
  • A study of Toronto schools found that a bullying
    act occurred every seven seconds but teachers
    were aware of only four per cent of the incidents
  • Seven out of 10 teachers but only one in four
    students say that teachers almost always
    intervene. Close to 40 per cent of victims say
    they have not talked to their parents about the
  • Ninety per cent of children say they find it
    unpleasant to watch bullying.
  • Peers are present in 85 per cent of bullying
    episodes on the playground and in the classroom.
  • First Steps
  • Hear No Evil, See No Evil....
  • Lack of intervention implies that bullying is
    acceptable and can be done without fear of
    consequences. Bullies and their accomplices need
    to understand the harm they cause and that their
    behavior will not be tolerated at school. They
    can change.

Bullies can take the fun out of school where
bullying happens most and turn something simple
like a ride on the bus, stop at a locker, or walk
to the bathroom into a scary event that's
anticipated with worry all day.
  • Children who are bullied often experience low
    self-esteem and depression, whereas those doing
    the bullying may go on to engage in more
    destructive, antisocial behaviours as teens and
    adults. Bullies, who often have been bullied
    themselves, may pick on others to feel powerful,
    popular, important, or in control. Often, they
    antagonize the same children repeatedly. Sadly,
    bullying is widespread. According to a U.S. 2004
    poll of children, 86 of more than 1,200 9- to
    13-year-old boys and girls polled said they've
    seen someone else being bullied, 48 said they've
    been bullied, and 42 admitted to bullying other
    kids at least once in a while.

The Different Ways Kids Bully
  • Bullying behaviour isn't always easy to define.
    Where do you draw the line between good-natured
    ribbing and bullying? Although teasing resembles
    bullying because it can prompt feelings of anger
    or embarrassment, teasing can be less hostile and
    done with humour, rather than harm. Teasing often
    promotes an exchange between people rather than a
    one-sided dose of intimidation. Although the
    black eye is a concrete sign that your child may
    be a victim of bullying, there are many different
    ways kids bully that aren't always as easy to

Bullying continued
  • Cyber bullying a relatively new phenomenon began
    surfacing as modern communication technologies
    advanced. Through email, instant messaging,
    Internet chat rooms, and electronic gadgets like
    camera cell phones, cyber bullies forward and
    spread hurtful images and/or messages. Bullies
    use this technology to harass victims at all
    hours, in wide circles, at warp speed.  
  • Emotional bullying can be more subtle and can
    involve isolating or excluding a child from
    activities (i.e., shunning the victim in the
    lunchroom or on school outings) or spreading
    rumours. This kind of bullying is especially
    common among girls. Physical bullying can
    accompany verbal bullying and involves things
    like kicking, hitting, biting, pinching, hair
    pulling, or threats of physical harm.  
  • Racist bullying preys on children through racial
    slurs, offensive gestures, or making jokes about
    a child's cultural traditions.  
  • Sexual bullying involves unwanted physical
    contact or sexually abusive or inappropriate
  • Verbal bullying usually involves name-calling,
    incessant mocking, and laughing at a child's
  • Also, despite the common notion that bullying is
    a problem mostly among boys, both boys and girls
    bully. But boys and girls can vary in the ways
    they bully. Girls tend to inflict pain on a
    psychological level. For example, they might
    ostracize victims by freezing them out of the
    lunchroom seating arrangements, ignoring them on
    the playground, or shunning them when slumber
    party invitations are handed out. Boys aren't as
    subtle and they can get physical. For example,
    boy bullies are more apt to insult their victims
    on the playground than ignore them. Instead of
    isolating a non-athletic victim during a gym
    class dodgeball game, they might take relentless
    aim and target the child throw after throw.

Bullying in Canada For almost two decades the
PREVNet Scientific Directors and their colleagues
have asked many children about their experiences
with bullying and victimized or have bullied
  • Why Worry About Children and Youth Who are
    Victimized? Children and youth who are
    victimized are at risk for a range of emotional,
    behaviour and relationship problems including
  • Low self-concept 
  • School absenteeism 
  • Depression 
  • Stress-related health problems (e.g., headaches,
    stomach aches) 
  • Social anxiety and loneliness 
  • (Further) social withdrawal and isolation 
  • Aggressive behaviours and bullying In the most
    extreme cases, suicidal thoughts and suicide
  • Why Worry About Children and Youth Who Both Bully
    and are Victimized? Children and youth who are
    involved both in bullying others and in being
    bullied by their peers experience the most
    serious emotional, behavioural, and relationship
    problems. The report problems associated with
    both bullying others and being victimized as
    listed above. These children and youth require
    the most intensive support.
  • http//

About PREVNet
  • The Promoting Relationships and Eliminating
    Violence Network (PREVNet) is a coalition of
    Canadians concerned about bullying. The primary
    goal of PREVNet is to translate and exchange
    knowledge about bullying to enhance awareness, to
    provide assessment and intervention tools, and to
    promote policy related to the problems of
    bullying. Through this comprehensive and
    authoritative website, PREVNet will disseminate
    knowledge about problems of bullying in a manner
    that is responsive to, and reflective of, the
    broadest diversity of community concerns in
    Canada. The website is designed for multiple
    audiences - children and youth, parents,
    educators, health professionals, media, public
    and private organizations, and members of
    communities throughout Canada. This website is
    designed to
  • Translate empirical findings, promote awareness
    and understanding.
  • Provide standardized assessment and evaluation
  • Provide guidance on evidence-based intervention
  • Guide the development of policy and advocacy to
    reduce bullying problems among Canadian children
    and youth.
  • PREVNet is designed to be the authoritative link
    providing empirically based research and
    information on PREVNet's four pillars Education,
    Assessment, Intervention, and Policy.

How often have you been victimized in the last
two months?

Source Craig, W.M., Pepler, D.J., Jiang, D.,
Connolly, J. (in preparation). Victimization in
Children and Adolescents A
developmental and relational perspective.
Myth Bullying does not cause any serious harm.
  • Fact Bullying is associated with a range of
    physical and mental health problems, as well as
    suicide, educational problems, antisocial
    problems, and relationship problems. For
  • Victimized children are more likely to report
    headaches and stomach aches than non-victimized
    children (Due et al., 2005 Williams, et al.,
    1996). Children who both bully and are victimized
    may be at greatest risk for physical health
  • Victimized children are more likely to report
    anxiety and depressive symptoms than children
    uninvolved in bullying (Due et al, 2005
    Kaltiala-Heino et al, 1999). Of greatest concern
    is the fact that psychiatric problems associated
    with involvement in bullying tend to persist into
    later life (Kumpulainen Rasanen, 2000).
  • A high risk of suicidal ideation (having thoughts
    of suicide) is found among children who are
    bullied, who bully others, and who are involved
    in both roles (Kaltiala-Heinoet al., 1999).
  • Both victimized children and children who bully
    are at risk for poor school functioning, in terms
    of poor attitudes towards school, low grades, and
    absenteeism (Rigby, 2003 Tremblay, 1999).
  • 20-25 of frequently victimized children report
    bullying as the reason for missing school (Rigby,
  • Youth who bully others are more likely to use
    alcohol and drugs (Pepler et al., 2002), and are
    at risk for later criminality. For example, 60
    of boys who bully others in elementary school had
    criminal records by age 24 (Olweus, 1991).

Signs of Bullying Others Children and youth who
bully may show behaviours or emotional signs that
they are using power aggressively
  • Little concern for others feelings
  • Does not recognize impact of his/her behaviour on
  • Aggressive with siblings, parents, teachers,
    friends, and animals
  • Bossy and manipulative to get own way
  • Possessing unexplained objects and/or extra money
  • Secretive about possessions, activities, and
  • Holds a positive attitude towards aggression
  • Easily frustrated and quick to anger

Lens on the Child or Youths Relationships Signs
of Bullying Others Children who bully others
often experience power and aggression in their
own relationships or in those close to them
  • Parents may model use of power and aggression by
    yelling, hitting, rejecting child
  • Parents may model use of power and aggression
    with each other
  • Siblings may bully child at home
  • Child has friends who bully and are aggressive
  • Child has trouble standing up to peer pressure
  • Teachers or coaches may model use of power and
    aggression by yelling, excluding, rejecting
  • Few opportunities to shine and show talents at
    home, school, or in the community (positive

Lens on the Individual Child or Youth Signs of
Victimization Children and youth who are being
victimized often show a change in behaviour
and/or emotions
  • Not wanting to go to school or participate in
    extra-curricular activities
  • Anxious, fearful, over-reactive
  • Exhibits low self-esteem and makes negative
    comments about him/herself
  • Headaches and stomach aches
  • Lower interest and performance in school
  • Loses things, needs money, reports being hungry
    after school
  • Injuries, bruising, damaged clothing, broken
  • Unhappy, irritable, little interest in activities
  • Trouble sleeping, nightmares, bedwetting
  • Expresses threats to hurt himself/herself or

Lens on the Child or Youths Relationships Signs
of Victimization
  • Children and youth who are victimized often lack
    relationships in which they can experience
    positive identity, power, and independence 
  • Parents may be overprotective, restrictive
  • Siblings may bully child at home
  • Lonely and isolated at school
  • Few friends at school or in neighbourhood
  • Teachers may be unaware of childs strengths and
    challenges and therefore unresponsive to needs.
  • Few opportunities to shine and show talents at
    home, school, or in the community (positive

(No Transcript)
World Health Organization Suicide Prevention
  • In the year 2000, approximately one million
    people died from suicide a "global" mortality
    rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40
  • In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased
    by 60 worldwide. Suicide is now among the three
    leading causes of death among those aged 15-44
    years (both sexes) these figures do not include
    suicide attempts up to 20 times more frequent
    than completed suicide.
  • Although traditionally suicide rates have been
    highest among the male elderly, rates among young
    people have been increasing to such an extent
    that they are now the group at highest risk in a
    third of countries, in both developed and
    developing countries.
  • What do you know about youth suicide in Canada?

Canadian Childrens Rights Council Canadian
Task Force on Preventative Health Care
  • The malefemale ratio for suicide risk was 3.81.
    In both males and females, the greatest increase
    between 1960 and 1991 occurred in the
    15-to-19-year age group, with a
    four-and-a-half-fold increase for males, and a
    three-fold increase for females but rising
  • In a survey of 15,000 grade 7 to 12 students in
    British Columbia, 34 knew of someone who had
    attempted or died by suicide 16 had seriously
    considered suicide 14 had made a suicide plan
    7 had made an attempt and 2 had required
    medical attention due to an attempt.
  • Suicide is most often a process, not an event.
    Eight out of ten people who die by suicide gave
    some, or even many, indications of their

Who is at risk?
  • Most people feel suicidal at some time in their
    lives. The overwhelming desire to escape from
    pain can be relieved when the problem or pressure
    is relieved. Learning effective coping techniques
    to deal with stressful situations can help.
  • In Canada, suicide is the second highest cause
    of death for youth aged 10-24. Each year, on
    average, 294 youths die from suicide. Many more
    attempt suicide. Aboriginal teens and gay and
    lesbian teens may be at particularly high risk,
    depending on the community they live in and their
    own self esteem.
  • For every youth suicide completion, there are
    nearly 400 suicide attempts. Average figures hide
    the existence of certain population groups which
    are at extremely high risk for suicide including
    prison inmates, persons with certain mental
    health problems, and Natives. (294 x 400 117,
    600 attempts, not incl. driving accidents)
  • Suicide rates in the Canadian Native population
    are more than twice the sex-specific rates, and
    three times the age-specific rates of non-Native
    Canadians. Among native youth, the problem is

Interventions Challenges
  • Strategies involving restriction of access to
    common methods of suicide have proved to be
    effective in reducing suicide rates
  • There is compelling evidence indicating that
    adequate prevention and treatment of depression,
    alcohol and substance abuse can reduce suicide
  • School-based interventions involving crisis
    management, self-esteem enhancement and the
    development of coping skills and healthy decision
    making have been demostrated to reduce the risk
    of suicide among the youth.
  • Worldwide, the prevention of suicide has not been
    adequately addressed due to basically a lack of
    awareness of suicide as a major problem and the
    taboo in many societies to discuss openly about
    it. In fact, only a few countries have included
    prevention of suicide among their priorities.
  • Reliability of suicide certification and
    reporting is an issue in great need of
  • It is clear that suicide prevention requires
    intervention also from outside the health sector
    and calls for an innovative, comprehensive
    multi-sectoral approach, including both health
    and non-health sectors, e.g. education, labour,
    police, justice, religion, law, politics, the

Youth violence in Canada
  • Every year, approximately 1 in 10 youth comes
    into contact with the police for violations of
    the Criminal Code or other federal statutes
    Mostproperty crimes.
  • Therefore, it is only a small minority of young
    people who become involved with the young
    offender system. Data collected in 1995 indicate
    that, of these youth, 19 were charged with a
    violent offence.
  • Recent research on Canadian university and
    college campuses found between 16 and 35 of
    women surveyed had experienced at least one
    physical or sexual assault by a boyfriend in the
    previous 12 months. Approximately 45 of the
    women surveyed reported they had been sexually
    abused since leaving high school.9 Although this
    research used a sample over the age of 19, the
    findings are applicable to the youth population.
    Recent qualitative research with a sample of 13
    to 17 year-old girlfriend abusers suggests that
    youth violence against female dating partners is
    an issue in primary and high schools.

How common is youth violence?
  • By the age of 13, approximately 55 percent of
    boys and 27 percent of girls reported having been
    in a fight
  • According to a new study by the Centre for
    Addiction and Mental Health, approximately one in
    ten students reported involvement in all of the
    following behaviors within the past 12 months
    assault, fighting at school, having serious
    thoughts of committing suicide, and carrying a
    weapon. In addition, approximately 25 percent of
    students reported being bullied at school since
    the beginning of the school year and
    approximately 33 percent of students reported
    having bullied someone else.
  • The general consensus within the field is that
    youth violence is something that is learned and
    therefore can be prevented.
  • Violent conduct comprises a wide range of
    behaviours, from bullying and verbal abuse,
    through fighting, to rape and homicide. In Canada
    in 1997, there were 58 homicidal deaths among
    young men aged 1524 years, making homicide the
    fourth leading cause of death (after
    unintentional injuries, suicide and cancer) in
    this age group. More recent concerns have been
    triggered by escalating rates of early childhood
    aggression, violence perpetrated by female youth
    and suicide attributed to distress from

Inadequate Theories of Violence
  • Biological explanations genetics, drives,
    testosterone, teeter-totter brain, no signals
  • Behavioural explanations human instinct a la
    Freud, learned aggression, frustration, wrong
    parenting, violent subcultures, ethnic
    disposition, faulty role-playing, media-generated
    imagery, psychological deficiencies, criminal
  • Evolutionary explanations birthing trauma,
    animal regression, differentiating sexes,
    man-the-hunter, historical imprints,
    moral/legal civilizing processes definitions,
    violent cultures

Problems in these Approaches
  • Violence has a gender males excel at it!
  • Biological explanations do not account for
    individual agency/cross-cultural patterns
  • Behavioural explanations do not account for the
    complex social causes of violence, e.g.
    unemployment, denial of violence, media
  • Violence does not occur spontaneously
  • Violence often instrumental to prove
    masculinity by males, yet not all males use it

Recent Examples
  • School shootings in Canada USA
  • Murder of native women gender hate racist
  • Gang shootings in Toronto and major cities
  • Domestic violence child assault reporting
  • Catholic priests convictions for pedophilia
  • Impact of cumulative increase in media violence
  • Light penalties for environmental criminals
  • Increased need for respect in the face of
    equalizing of sexes Montreal Massacre89, Dawson
    College last year
  • Severe widening of gap between rich poor along
    ethnic lines
  • At the beginning of 2003, there were thirty wars
    (conflicts claiming more than 1000 lives)
  • Violence increasing, not decreasing torture
  • When did you last witness someone bullied at
    school or home?

Exploring New Ways of Knowing Science
Humanities/Values Society
  • New Century looks very much like old one why?
  • As far as social sciences impact on quality of
    life for the general population, the world is
    still flat
  • Of the 9.2 billion in new federal expenditures
    since 1998, only approximately 1 billion, or
    11, has funded research in the humanities and
    social sciences.
  • Money spent on weapons research, technical
    developments, and conspicuous consumption
    reinforces denial of social analysis and cripples
    research initiatives
  • Male supremacist ideology neglects study of
    violence as human nature
  • Omitted research on spanking as harmful abuse
  • The scientists investigating the human context of
    violence is miniscule compared vast number of
    researchers in the physical life sciences, i.e.
    non-human science

Case Study TestosteroneAggression
  • Robert Sapolsky, Tesosterone rules! (1998)
    t-levels cannot predict which males will be
  • boys will be boysbut environmental triggers of
    aggression work to release the hormone into the
  • Even if much higher levels are introduced, social
    environment plays a major role in subsequent
  • Biology is NOT destiny in the male stereotype
    disproved in labs field studies normal N.A.
    males not violent
  • Even castration does not result in no aggression
  • Critical to remember the limits of biology
    meaningless outside of the context of social
    factors of human milieu
  • All science is human science---we are both
    subjects/objects but this context is omitted from

Preventing Violence
  • James Gilligan (2000) almost every act of
    violence preventable, if it is an actual top
  • Abolish moral/legal approach as vicious cycle but
    treat it as a public health threat
  • Shame perceived disrespect are triggers for
    violenceto restore self-esteem for males esp.
  • Social causes relative poverty/jobless rate,
    caste rankings, shame culture, wars, gender role
  • Violence proves masculinity (as homophobia),
    i.e., use of force is a trait of a real man in
  • Restorative strategies offer hope of resolution
  • Violent punishments increase violent behaviours

On Killing The Psychological Cost of Learning
to Kill in War Society
  • Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (1996) most researchers
    gen. public never recognize resistance to killing
    as nearly universal
  • Killing is traumatic easier from a distance,
    psychiatric casualty rate in combat 98
  • Factors demands of authority, group absolution,
    emotional distance, type of victim, killers
    predisposition, death-math training, recent
    experiences, temper
  • What are we doing to our children? Media is
    actually de-sensitizing us, intensified by
    Internet videogaming the new numbness

What Every Person Should Know about War (2003)
  • Chris Hedges, NY Times war correspondent,
    authored War is a Force that gives us meaning
  • Bullets travel 730 m/s over a kilometre 40
    combat deaths head/neck wounds
  • Of past 3400 years, humans have been entirely at
    peace for 8 of them
  • Between 1900-1990, 43 million soldiers died but
    62 million civilians in the 1990s, civilian
    deaths were between 75-90 of all war deaths
  • Most recruits MUST be trained to kill (Pavlovian
    operant conditioning)
  • But killing humans requires training abuse
  • See Gwynne Dyers doc Anybodys Son Will Do

Investigating War as Violence
  • Gwynne Dyer, War, New Edition (2004)
  • Joshua Goldstein, War Gender (2001)
  • Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites (1997)
  • David Jones, Women Warriors (1997)
  • Joseph Kuypers, Mans Will to Hurt (1992)
  • Glen Stassen, Just Peacemaking (1998)
  • Howard Zinn, Just War (2005)

Elimination of Violence
  • LaMarsh Research Centre on Violence Conflict
    Resolution (York U.)
  • UN Declaration of Human Rights (1948) authored by
    John Peters Humphrey (Can.) no UNESCO no
  • York U. new student club Health as a Bridge to
    Peace promoting health locally globally
  • Elizabeth Stanko, Violence Research Program,
    (London, England)
  • Frame all violence as a Health Issue in a culture
    of violence, not a behavioural one or one of
    human nature

UN Sec-Gens Study of Violence Against Children
(June 2005)
  • Covers family, community, schools, media, other
    institutions esp. vulnerable kids
  • Identifies gaps in research stats info
  • Evidence demonstrates that these violationshave
    serious lifelong effects on childrens devel.
    society as a whole
  • what happens to you as a child will stay with
    you the rest of your life 13 yr old girl

Situation Urgent Global Priority
  • Annual estimates US billions UN (1998) basic
    education for all humanity 6 b.
  • water/sanitation for all 9 b.
  • basic health/nutrition for all 13 b.
  • Ice cream bought in EU 11 b.
  • Pet Food costs in USA Europe 17 b.
  • Narcotic Drugs globally 400 b.
  • Military Spending globally 780 b.

Youth Take a look at choices
  • What can you do to initiate dialogue in your
    circle of friends and school?
  • Have school-wide discussions about bullying
    youth suicide consult PREVnet website!
  • Turn attention to the cultural supports for
  • Look at everyday rage instead of focus on weapons
  • VRP Site
  • Peace Brigades
  • War Child site
  • PAEP

LaMarsh Research Centre_at_YorkU
  • Focuses on violence, youth, health
  • has Child/Youth Violence Research Group
  • Home of Canadian Initiative for Prevention of
    Bullying (develops awareness tools)
  • Offers Brazilian Ball funds for Seed Grants
    Research Development Grants aimed at reducing
    violence in the lives of children youth, plus
    Graduate Awards for students

How do we solve the problems together?
What to do?
  • Support anti-violence education and anti-bullying
    along with peace efforts personal responses
  • Acknowledge the male gender of violence key
  • Redefine theories by including social context
  • Take profit/pleasure out of pain cruelty numbs
  • Destroy weapons and use of force end fighting
    culture and refuse it as a solution to all
  • Admit negative role of media inform investors
  • Seek partnerships promote health through
    absolute insistence on all essential human rights

  • What is conditioned can be deconditioned. Men
    can change --Catherine Itzin
  • Witnessing violence teaches you violence and
    makes you hate. --Adolescent, Sask. Youth in
    Care Custody Network
  • Violence begins with ignorance and ends with

if it is to be, it is up to me
The state of inner readiness is known as hope
what is your resolution?
Spring when flowers burst out of hard patches of
wintered land makes growth look so easy, but do
not be fooled growth is the process of staying
with what seems futile and useless and ungiving
and barren until it becomes something that we
know was worth doing. Growth is the process of
finally finding good where for a while no good
seemed to be Joan Chittister, feminist
theologian ecologist
This is where you come in