I just read a post put up by my fellow blogger and friend Jenna Kirkpatrick
I wanted to add my own thoughts to Jenna’s post that was prompted by the murder of Sarah Everard and the cause of such violence in society today. This was meant to be a comment on her blog but it became a full sized post which is why I’m putting it here. Please take the time to read Jenna’s post, she makes a huge amount of excellent points and observations. I have only dealt with my opinion on the causation factor of what she is discussing.
As a woman, I hear and agree with every point she makes with the exception of blaming the entertainment industry for the rise in violent physical crimes against people across the board.
It doesn’t matter how far back in history we go, we will find evidence of violent crime against women in particular but generally against men and children too.
Go back to the 60’s and we have the likes of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. The 70’s gave us Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire ripper. Go back even further in the annuls of history and we have Jack the Ripper and that’s just the big names that we all remember. Society didn’t have the plethora of violent entertainment in those days, we barely had television and radio. In Jack the Ripper’s time society didn’t have either of those things! It’s too easy to broad sweep this pandemic of violence under the ‘blame porn/violent movies/shows’ tag.
Jenna’s friend says its about education, she is correct. It is about education. It’s about teaching our children both at home and in school about gender equality, about consent, about NO means NO not maybe, or yes but I don’t want to look easy, No means No. It’s about educating young minds about the difference between fact and fiction, reality and fantasy and right and wrong. Morality needs to be a huge part of education, not added as a by product of religious education where it was when I was growing up and going through school. This education needs to start in the home and run through every single moment of a child’s education. It needs to be the glue that holds their entire education together.
For far too many years, the misogyny that runs through society is a pandemic of its own. While it is not present in every man, there is a large portion of the male society who see women as less than themselves, sometimes that lessening is not just sexual, it is intellectual, if you’re a woman and reading this, how many men have you worked with who patronised you, or blamed your female status because you were having a bad day at the office? Our hormones are called into question almost every single time. If you’re a man reading this, how many times has someone suggested it’s your testosterone level that caused you to be angry, upset, pissed off or just generally having a bad day? I’m going to hazard an educated guess and say it just never happened. Ever. Men are entitled to their emotions in the work place and at home and in life in general, women are not. We are told to take a pill, calm down, adjust, adapt, compromise, shut up, put up and get on with it. Usually by men, but more sadly, sometimes by women who think we need to stay in the 50’s and be the little wife at home cooking and cleaning and being a broodmare and generally accepting our lesser place in society.
This is not a broad sweep statement against all men, as with everything in life, it applies to the few not the many. It’s about that minority of men with the misogyny gene born from being told men are supposed to be stronger, better, more intelligent, more everything than women so if a woman then performs better than he in any aspect, he takes it as a slight to his masculinity and superior status and belittles her using her gender against her as his weapon. If she gets the promotion over him, she must have shagged the boss. If he gets it over her, well he’s worked very hard to prove himself, he earned it!
That kind of thinking needs to be eradicated from the mindset of raising boys to be men.
Now in my opinion, entertainment is the least of the problems, accessibility to the content Jenna features in her post is the problem. Because of the lack of restrictions to porn/violence on the internet it has become almost impossible to police effectively. The entertainment industry as a whole have rules and guidelines they have to follow before they can release a movie, a show, a tv series or a game. But now we have the home movie makers, the home gamers, the maverick ‘I can do it myself’ men and women and kids who have realised that porn and violence sells no matter the severity of the content as long as it’s readily available to stream or download. Policing that content is next to impossible because as fast as it goes up it gets taken down and something else takes its place.
The problem is ease of access to violent imagery, gamers share their games online with each other and create scenarios between them. One-upmanship between rivals will see that quickly spiral and become something degrading and sick beyond anything we could imagine.
And then, we have those people who are just blatantly wired up wrong. Psychopaths/Sociopaths/malignant narcissists, paedophiles, to name but a few, who get off on seeing another human being suffer at their hands from something their beyond cruel cold twisted mind has conjured up for them.
How do you prevent that?
Look at the Jamie Bulger case, what those two small boys did to Jamie Bulger was beyond heinous, it was a game to them to see how many bad things they could do. The public believed they had been constantly left to watch violence on tv while parents were otherwise occupied, yes they probably were, but that isn’t the only reason they did what they did. A major reason for why they did it, is because they were wired up that way in the first place, the things they saw probably aided in triggering them at the age of 10 and 11 but was it the root cause? I don’t think so. The marker was already there, ready and waiting.
How do you police that?
The simple fact is, they were always going to commit a violent crime against a child, or at least one of them was, the other was a mindless idiot who followed like a lamb to the slaughter.
In one case it was hard wired into him and the other it was lack of education, the lack of knowledge of the difference between right and wrong, the basic lack of understanding of reality versus fiction. The lack of understanding about the concept of pain and death being final and irreversible. The gullibility factor and the lack of the very basic and necessary care factor in his life. No one cared what they did until what they did turned to the murder of an innocent toddler. Then everyone noticed them. Too late, but people finally lifted their heads up.
I am not pro-violence via the entertainment sector, I believe Jenna is right to throw a light on that sector, do we really need such violence, sexual or brutal, depicted in almost every programme or film we see, or to the extent it goes to? No, I don’t think so, but can we blame them for the rise in violent personal physical crimes against men and women and children? I believe they are a symptom and not the sole cause.
It’s way deeper than that. It’s about the individual who isolates themselves away from bright smiles and general friendliness preferring to sit alone and stew and think up terrible ways to hurt people who they perceive have done them wrong. It’s about gang mentality, urging each other on to more violent and heinous crimes, it’s about the friendly, affable strangers who hide in plain sight and hide their secret urges until they can no longer deny themselves and we end up with a Fred and Rosemary West scenario. Where one feeds the other and urges them on to commit even greater atrocities. It’s about the dedicated Doctor Harold Shipman who house called all of his elderly patients and then murdered them one after the other for years!
There are a whole host of thought processes involved in this that no one could make a definitive list for. These people may have had terrible lives, been abused as a small child, mind broken, the abused often becomes the abuser and continues the cycle of violence because its all they know. How do you stop that happening behind closed doors? That scenario is as old as the hills. It’s always been present, just because we got a law passed to say a child cannot be physically disciplined by its parents, doesn’t mean that those parents are going to give a damn and follow the law or even care that their child has been damaged mentally beyond repair. It happened to them therefore that’s what they do to their own child. It’s their perceived ‘normal’. Or they could have had a perfectly normal life, a caring upbringing, and still gone on to be the psychopath who wanted to murder for the thrill of it.
How do you police that?
Bullying and abuse is a major cause of psychotic breaks in young minds, bullying needs to be stamped out, misogyny needs to be stamped out, the internet needs to be better governed, the home movie industry needs to be policed and controlled in a better way.
How do we do this?
Technology is moving too fast for us to keep up with.
It’s how we use the technology, do we allow it to isolate us from everyone or include us in a wider community? That’s where the issue begins. How do we police the super technology we barely understand? The kids are in control of it, they were born into this era of technology and they bend it to their own will while we sit fumbling around and get proud of ourselves because we managed to install parental controls on our PC or TV. 2 minutes later the kids have hacked into it again. They are techno savvy, we are not. That uphill battle is our downfall.
I think it starts with each and every one of us accepting that society has broken down to an almost anarchic state and humans are returning to the wild. That has to stop. We have to take responsibility for what we use, what we turn a blind eye to, what we say is just a joke, if it hurts someone it isn’t funny, it shouldn’t be made to be seen as hilarious. As far as sex is concerned, if it isn’t consensual, it shouldn’t happen and it definitely shouldn’t be aired over the internet as amateur porn entertainment! If you see it, report it! Be proactive in the taking down of this pandemic of abuse.
The issues we face in society today are bred from too easy access to too much of everything and never having to deal with the fallout from our words or actions. We have become a nameless, faceless, anonymous society who sits behind a phone or a computer screen, some of us churn out stories to titillate and entertain in the broadest sense. Some of us use it to remain connected with our loved ones, and to meet new people, while others use it as a platform to spew out bile, nastiness, bitter vitriol, hatred and disgust.
It should not be the case that a woman should have to police her activities, carry mace, her keys sticking out of her hand when she walks down the road, or even have to pretend she is talking to someone on the phone! It is up to men to not look at her and think I’m gonna fuck that!
It doesn’t matter how many times this happens and we all shout about the unfairness and wrongness of it all, until those men are held accountable for their skewered belief that they don’t have to control their base urges, women are not safe. These are all symptoms of the cause, they are not the cause.
Generally, being human and having a set of beliefs that are archaic and outdated is where our problems lie and this is the root cause of the entire problem. We need an upgrade to a new and more enlightened and equal way of thinking and seeing each other.
I don’t know how you fix that. That makes me sad.
6 thoughts on “Broken Society?”
It’s so sad Gemma – and I have felt overwhelmed at times this week.
I don’t mean to put all the blame on entertainment in my post, but I think it has a part to play. You mentioned many other factors which are even more relevant.
It’s just so deeply distressing, I am finding it hard to enjoy thinking about. reading or watching anything that even touches on abuse, assault, mistreatment. It just seems to be everywhere. I went to the pharmacy and a guy ahead of me threw a massive tantrum at the woman behind the counter because she refused a sale. Fortunately the guy behind him in the queue told him his behaviour was unacceptable and told him to go and calm down.
It’s shaking me up to see things like that.
It just hurts that on so many levels there is so much that contributes to fear. I don’t think it can all be policed. I think that it is so deep-rooted that decision makers don’t know where to begin to tackle it all.
I find that the law is sometimes struggling to find the right balance between making it legal to enjoy things that are unhealthy, and then having to punish those who have gone to extremes and yes….who seem to be wired to get enjoyment from those heinous crimes.
Ben is back tomorrow – and I am so glad.
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I think you have to keep it in perspective Jenna, if you think about it as a whole it becomes entirely too overwhelming to deal with and creates a spiral of fear that you can’t control. You have to deal with each day as it happens, react to each event with a renewed purpose of I will not contribute to the cause by being part of the problem. If enough people step away from the extremes and say no and report each one that they witness, then the policing and regulating of the internet can begin to make some headway. We cannot eradicate cruelty from human nature, it is literally hard wired into some people and we will always have that factor to deal with. I think what you are saying is, let’s not give those people a detailed and descriptive visual aid via the entertainment industry in the guise of the latest block buster or soap opera. I agree wholeheartedly. xx PS. I’m glad Ben is coming home tomorrow too! Things will be so much easier for you with him back. xx
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Education is the key. I believe that too.
Then I can also state that man is often evil in himself.
I was raped by a man 50 years ago.
I was also beaten regularly by my mother as a child.
There are no people who are only good or only evil.
Evil, just like good, is inherent in all of us.
We must learn to regulate it.
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That is exactly the point Christian, people are the problem, not the systems that we use to perpetuate it. Until we change the way we think we cannot hope to change the way society acts as a whole. I agree there are no purely good or entirely evil people. Situation, environment and opportunity are all key factors in how we deal with life. I just wish we could teach people to deal with it in a better way.
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You and Jenna have inspired a very thoughtful discussion here, my friend!
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These murders are no longer isolated incidents, they are becoming more and more frequent and nothing changes. It just makes me so angry that the name of the man who committed this terrible crime will be remembered long after Sarah Everard’s name will have been consigned to the long and ever growing list of victims of violence against women. Everyone wants to lay blame here there and everywhere for the cause of the crime, but in my opinion it’s quite simple, humans are the cause, an antiquated set of rules to live by, and a section of the male population who think they are entitled to take what they want with impunity simply because they are male. Misogyny is as big a pandemic as covid 19 and no one is doing a damn thing about it.
Every man, young or old, should ask his mother and his sisters, aunties and female family members how they would wish to be treated by a man and learn directly from them what they believe is acceptable behaviour towards them.
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