Societal overhaul needed to end domestic violence
Why aren't the solutions to the problem of domestic violence ("Reasons for violence difficult to pin down," July 6)
being focused on the perpetrators? Why are the victims put in charge of protecting themselves and finding their own "safe escape" routes? It's pretty clear that there is no safety for the victims if their assailants are not dealt with: "Oh, these poor guys, they don't know how to express their frustration with their lives and their relationships without killing someone."
Here's the deal: Humans are a violent lot. We have a long history of violence. We engage in wars. We watch violent movies. We have a fascination with violent news. We play violent games ... and the list goes on. So is it any wonder that our home lives have a violent nature to them, too?
It seems to me that domestic violence is a symptom of our much larger problems: one, that we are not striving to deal with violence in general, and two, we have a long history of misogyny. Women are still second-class citizens and are basically considered under the obligation of their husbands and families.
Yes, women have come a long way, but here are some things to consider: At the founding of our country, why were men allowed to vote, but not women? Why has our country never had a female president, and why was Hillary Clinton's campaign considered so unusual? Why does the Catholic Church not allow women to become priests or pope? Why is our Congress comprised of mostly men? Why are women largely the victims in domestic violence? We, as a world, as a society, need to change our thinking about women.
And we need to change our thinking about violence. Violence is unacceptable. We are sending off some of our best and brightest to be killed or physically or mentally compromised by war. We are crippling the families of our war veterans. War is a waste of resources. It's expensive. It pollutes the environment. It contributes to global warming. It's bad press. It makes people hate us and want to hurt us back. War does not end war. War causes more wars. World War I was started by an act of terrorism, an assassination, and so it goes, on and on.
If we humans are really as smart as we think we are, we need to redo ourselves. We need to stop being violent, period. It won't happen overnight. We have several thousand years of history to overcome, but if we make it a priority, eventually it will come to an end.
We could start by re-educating the men in our society. If anyone should feel shameful about domestic violence as a whole, it should be men. Ages ago, when I was an undergraduate at the University of Hawaii, I took a women's studies course. I was absolutely shocked and abhorred to find out that rape (some 30 years ago) was being committed in the United States at the rate of two women every 10 minutes of every day, night and day.
I was outraged, and I went around telling everyone I knew about this horrible injustice. Imagine my shock and sorrow when many of my women friends told me, "Oh yes, I have been raped." And then I began to think, if I know women who have been raped, I must know men who have been rapists. Yes, we need to end domestic violence, and men should be the main target.
If the human race drives itself into extinction, we will have deserved it. We need to be nicer to each other and to the planet. Let's see more men at these domestic violence vigils.
Pualani Ramos, also known as Auntie Pualani of Na Pualani Preschool, lives in Kailua.