We live in a culture that is too familiar with violence. In 2014 alone there were an estimated 1,165,383 violent crimes (murder and non-negligent homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults) reported by law enforcement in the U.S. What causes this culture? One main issue is the overuse of violence and the degradation of people in different forms of comedy and other media forms that write it off as unimportant and an everyday occurrence. So if the problem is talking about violence too much, the solution is to talk about it less, right? But will that really solve the problem? What happens when we don’t talk about something? It doesn’t go away. It still exists. Arguably, it even gets worse.
A big problem today is the misconceptions and falsities that surround acts of violence. Some acts are based upon these falsities, while others are justified because of them. For example, sexual assault has a number of misconceptions that can be very harmful. The most common being, "She was asking for it," or "Men can't be raped." These statements are harmful to the victim, but they are also a big part of the reason why so much sexual violence goes on without any action.
In an Ethics class I took last year, I realized the reason why these misconceptions exist. If we don't talk or teach about something, everyone is going to form their own opinions. These opinions go unchallenged because we, as a society, refuse to talk about anything controversial. If no one tells you you are wrong, why would you ever think that you are anything but right?
We don't want to offend, and we don't want to make the issue worse, so what do we do?
It is important, first, to distinguish between educating and offending. As educated human beings, we should be able to have a discussion about something without it turning into an argument. The problem here is that, because everyone has begun babying each other and avoiding saddening issues, we have made it easier to be offended. If you aren't exposed to anything that toughens your skin, you are weakened to just about everything.
We have really created a problem now, and we need to start fixing it before it gets even worse. We need to start talking about things, not ignoring them. Pretending something isn't happening doesn't stop it from happening. We need to talk, to teach and to stop being so sensitive. It's time to take action and stop hiding. It's not an issue that can be fixed overnight, and talking and teaching is not a fix-all solution, but it is the first step that we need to take toward being a less sensitive and more peaceful society.