The other day I was cleaning out all of the old drafts of posts I never finished, ideas I had for posts that never were quite fulfilled.
I found one article I was going to comment on many months ago that, according to an AP analysis of crime statistics, sex offense cases involving juvenile perpetrators are up dramatically in recent years. The offenders are younger, treatment professionals report, and their crimes are becoming more violent.
I almost tossed it. But I didn't.
It pulled at me, what could I do about this incredibly disturbing trend? What could anyone do?
Later, going through some of my old bookmarks I saw that the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women (the Franco-phonic acronym of LACAAW) which has been around at least as long as I have, changed their name to Peace Over Violence
They changed it because rape and sexual assault of women and children is only the tip of the iceberg.
Honestly, I wasn't sure how I felt about the change. After all, "L.A. Commission on Assaults Against Women" sounds pretty official. Peace over Violence sounds...well, like a bunch of long-haired hippie, Birkenstock, tie-dye wearing, folks who are a lot easier to laugh off than the other one. Not that I don't love all you peace-loving, tie-dye wearing, patchouli-smelling, tofu-eating folks...I just didn't know if this change was for the best - so I started clicking around.
Here is one of the pages that I found. I highlighted the ones that struck me as being the most creative things I can do day to day in RED
.100 ways to commit acts of violence prevention everyday: VOLUNTEER at your neighborhood school or community organization.KEEP kids BUSY and productive after school. SUPPORT your local battered women’s shelter and rape crisis center.MENTOR a youth.KEEP kids AWAY from guns, and guns away from kids.Don’t keep a gun in your house. If you do, lock it up.MONITOR your family’s movie and television viewing.GET NEWS of the day from more than one source.MAKE COMPASSION a part of your management style.BRING FAIRNESS to your workplace.TAKE CHARGE of protecting yourself; take a SELF-DEFENSE class.DON’T LAUGH at rape jokes.Be an ALLY; STAND UP for someone else. In an escalating confrontation, LOWER your voice. BE KIND to the homeless.LISTEN actively.SPEND TIME in nature.OPEN your HEART. CHANGE your mind.RESPECT people from other ethnicities and cultures.VOTE; participate in democracy.MAKE ROOM for the other.QUESTION stereotypes about gays and lesbians.PRACTICE smiling.LEARN ABOUT RELIGIONS other than your own.SIT in STILLness everyday.SPEAK your TRUTH with compassion.RESTRAIN from making hand gestures while driving.REDUCE road rage. Get to KNOW your neighbors.SHARE responsibility for the safety of everyone’s children. KNOW your police officers.POLICE the police. BE VIGILANT, not a vigilante. DEVELOP a household safety plan. Teach children the difference between helpful strangers and harmful ones. GIVE kids SAFE SPACES.USE the buddy system.AVOID isolated places.YELL to get attention if you’re in trouble.TEACH facts and strategies. Don’t teach fear. BE PATIENT.THINK about the effects of spanking.BE aware of your actions around children.GET HELP if you have an explosive temper.DEVELOP positive outlets for dealing with problems or stress.DEVELOP an AWARENESS of shared family beliefs about violence and its effect on others.PRACTICE & TEACH empathy. Don’t minimize or dismiss other people’s feelings. LET boys CRY. LET girls BE angry.BE FLEXIBLE. LET children FEEL their emotions.ENCOURAGE teens to have healthy relationships.TALK to your teens about the realities of dating violence.ENCOURAGE assertiveness.Don’t label female children as aggressive if they stand up for themselves.NAME abuse when you see it. HELP your sons and daughters learn to be responsible about their sexuality.TEACH your teens to distinguish between consensual sex and sexual assault. ACCENTUATE positive characteristics of healthy relationships.Take ACTION to INFLUENCE what is in the media. REFRAIN from using violent words or actions when reacting to conflict, stress or anger. Use CONFLICT RESOLUTION techniques.MEDITATE to gain clarity and focus.SUPPORT victims of violence in their healing.THINK before you react.SHIFT negative thinking.Be DISCERNING; refrain from judging.ENCOURAGE social justice.PRACTICE respectful sexuality.CREATE a positive support system.CARRY your local rape crisis hotline number with you.Support ECONOMIC GROWTH in underdeveloped areas.Give a job to a youth from a disenfranchised community.Steer kids AWAY from gangs. CREATE sexual harassment free zones in your workplace.CONFRONT where and how alcohol is sold in your community.SUPPORT prevention and treatment of drug abuse. If you drink, DON’T DRIVE.Plan for SAFE driving with teens.Don’t let friends or guests drive impaired.Respect your elders.Support gang intervention efforts.Motivate gang members to renounce violence.Express GRATITUDE often.Learn the warning signs of an abusive relationship.Speak out on violence against women.Recognize and report hate crimes.Respect the experiences of rape survivors.LAUGH heartily.Don’t ignore violence.Base sexual relations on a firm yes; seek consent.Give youth a chance; don’t stereotype.Educate yourself on the myths and realities of rape. Take responsibility for your own sexuality; don’t let it be defined by anyone else.Promote corporate responsibility.Teach tolerance; lead by example.VOLUNTEER or DONATE to Peace Over Violence.INVENT your own way…
I hope if there is one thing on this list you can do, that you write it down and carry it with you. Even if it is just not making one violent gesture on the road this week.
There are a bunch of things on this list that I'm not even going to try, for instance, refraining from using violent words when reacting to stress. I'm frankly, all about the "fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck."
I don't have any teens in my life, so all of those, I'm just going to ignore until the babies around me grow up a little.
But seriously, I could use a lot more of the patience. I could speak my truth more often. I could be a little more flexible.
Which brings me to the name. Yeah, I guess I'm ok with it. Since I'm being more flexible and all.