The Long Term Effects of Violence


We are now living in a coarse society filled with violence, intolerance and hatred. Can we live with these influences without harm to our psyche? I think not. Must we always agree? No. Can we speak our truth? Yes.

 

It is important that we as individuals talk about our issues and points of disagreement. Is there damage from a violent society? Yes. I know this because there is damage left from violence in families and homes. I worked in Domestic Violence for over two score years, and counseled at Rape Crisis. I worked as a psych nurse for years. I am going to share a story of how long the effects can last.

 

One night, I was passing meds on my forty-two-bed lock down unit. I was in the hallway when I heard crying and indistinct words. I went into the room and both patients were in their beds and no one else was there. One woman was crying and screaming. Sobbing is more accurate. I was surprised because this woman had been in a catatonic state for many years. She never spoke.

 

I walked to her bed and said her name softly. She was in the middle of a dream. She was crying and saying, ” No, stop. I won’t do it.” “Don’t let them do it.” I lowered her bed rail and climbed up into her bed. I held her in my arms and crooned that she was safe and no one would hurt her now. I gently rocked as I held her and let her cry out her pain and fear. I listened carefully and was shocked at what I heard.

 

Slowly, she stopped crying and talking. I gently placed her back on her mattress. I was the one crying now. I wiped my tears quickly away, while putting the side rail back up. She appeared to be sleeping normally now. I could still feel the warmth of her body on my arms. Her tears were on my arms also.

 

I breathed deeply and finished passing meds. I was quiet and replaying her words over and over in my head. When I was done, I locked up the med cart in the med room and went back to her room where I found her sound asleep and quiet.

 

I returned to the nurse’s desk and pulled her chart to document the incident but first I read her social history. She had been married, not a surprise. Her husband was a long distance truck driver. According to the social workers’ notes, he had physically abused her and he had made her have sex with other men while he watched.

 

I felt sick. She had had a life full of violence, humiliation and sexual abuse. I was glad that I had been outside of her room when she was having the nightmare. I am glad that I had held her and comforted her because it seemed she hadn’t had much comfort in her life. Catatonic. She was at a better place than this world had been to her.

 

Checking dates and doing the math, these horrible experiences had happened about thirty years prior. I was sure this wasn’t the first nightmare she had had. It was just the first one I had witnessed.

 

Thirty years later, there was still enough painful damage to give her nightmares. To make her cry and talk. To beg not to let the men hurt her. This is an example of the damage done to a human psyche. Damage that destroyed this woman and left her very scarred.

 

I am sharing this story because we harm each other. We cause pain and suffering. There are long lasting effects for all of us. This is why we need to think of others. We need to create love, kindness, and acceptance in this world. We need compassion, forgiveness and understanding. We need to change us and our worlds. We need to put the positive energy into the world.

 

We need to expect the positive to come to our lives. We need to accept the positive and to be grateful for it. We need to breathe, open our hearts and let all the positive goodness flow out from us into the world. It will change our lives for the better and we will not be victim to the pain.

 

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We are all part of one human family.

We are all part of one human family.

 

May Peace Prevail

May Peace Prevail

 

The parts of a happy life.

The parts of a happy life.

 

Focus on the positive

Focus on the positive

Freedom Writers


Freedom writers teacher, Ms. G.  Freedom Writers Teacher and role model (still from the Movie)

A little while ago, I wrote about a teacher in Long Beach, California who was teaching English to kids who had problems of some sort. I had watched the movie and discovered the book. It is available in bookstores and on Kindle and Nook. Ms. G. taught freshman and sophomore English. Well I am now reading the book which is an anthology of the student’s work.  The students were told to write in their journals, and the anthology includes various entries from each of their journals.

To encourage participation without the possibility of humiliation, the journals were all anonymous, but the entries were numbered.

The students wrote about what was happening with their families and their lives, and why their English class in Room 203 with Ms. G became Home; for some of them a second Home, but for many, it was the only Home they had.

Some of them wrote about going home from school and opening the mail and finding an eviction notice.  Others wrote about the fact that there was no food in their house, and no money to buy food.  They wrote about being molested or physical beaten by their mother’s significant other.  They wrote about watching their mothers being beaten, and trying to pull the abuser off their mothers while blood is running off their mother’s head.

Some of them wrote that they lived in very bad sections in Long Beach.  , some children would stay late at school to finish their work, but because they lived in such dangerous areas it wasn’t safe to be out after dark, particularly for the girls.  Ms. G would wait until the children left and even though she did not herself live in Long Beach, she would personally drive each child home to keep them safe.

More than one student wrote about how hard it was to keep their minds positive, to keep hope in their hearts, that they would get good grades, and be able to do everything that they wanted to.  They were surrounded by negativity, and that was what made it so hard.  Everywhere they looked, there was negativity.  This negativity was where the violence and the gang life style, and the intolerance and bigotry that surrounded them came from.

The students learned through Ms. G’s class to respect themselves and to believe in themselves.  They wrote of seeing the whole world differently after reading books, biographies like Zlata’s Diary, that showed them that other people have gone through really difficult times and survived, and got stronger, and turned themselves into better people.

The students wrote about how reading opened up the world to them, and they learned about what was possible, not matter where you lived or what kind of background you had, you could be a person who gave backed to the world.  You could make your life be how you wanted to be, instead of what the world said it had to be.

One student even wrote how her mother ever gave her curfews or rules to follows, so she got the idea that she should give herself curfews, because she didn’t want people to know that her mother was neglecting her.  She felt like she had raised herself, and that it wasn’t easy.

After they had compiled their journals, choosing the pages to submit, Ms. G had the compilation turned into a book.  Ms. G then contacted the Secretary of Education, and told him about her students and their projects, past and present, and about the book created from their project.  He invited them to come in person to bring him the book.  Ms. G and the students earned the money for the trip to Washington, DC, and got to meet the Secretary, who was very impressed with their book.  SOme of the students were blown away just walking up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  When they reached the Washington Memorial, they encircled the monument, held hands, sang and said prayers.

Some of the students wrote about that trip, and how they felt so light and full of hope joined together around the Washington Monument.

When they returned to Long Beach, they found out that another student in their school, not a Freedom Writer, had taken a trip to Vegas with friends, and while their brutally raped and murdered a 7 year old girl, while another student watched and did nothing to stop it.  The students wrote about the difficulty of balancing the positive energy from the trip with the horrific news that someone they knew had raped and murdered a little girl.  It was a difficult time but they made it through together, and when the media came to the school looking for headlines about the murder, they went out against school regulations, and sang and talked to the media not about the horror perpetrated by one student, but about what the 150 or so of them had accomplished instead.

The negativity that surrounded these students is what is causing the distrust, distress and violence in the world today, but this wonderful teacher and her courageous students stand as a shining example of what positive energy, hope and understanding can do to make the world a better place.

 

 

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Who

 

 

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Freedomwriters

 

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