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Violence and Its Effects and How to Define It Reflective Paper

Violence and Its Effects and How to Define It Reflective Paper

Question Description

How do YOU define violence and what can it’s affect be on brain development, behaviors and your emotions? Why do street gangs use violence?

*All posts must be at least 6 full paragraphs in length and include direct citations

People may define violence in different ways. My definition of violence is the intended use of physical, sexual, psychological or emotional force that results in injury, physiological harm, distress and/or death. Everyday there is someone experiencing violence not only from gangs but also from family members, friends, classmates or acquaintances. Violence can be done by different people, you can be a doer or a victim. Violence is also used for many different reasons. In this essay we will focus on the effects violence has on brain development, behaviors, and emotions. We will also look at the different reasons why street gangs use violence.

Violence can affect young children, youth and adults behavior throughout their life in different ways. Seeing violence at a young age such as observing violent acts against their mother, having been bullied, or being the victim of violent acts can cause a child to behave differently as they grow. These events can cause them unnecessary stress resulting in the child having difficulty in school, abusing drugs and alcohol, and becoming violent themselves. They also start to lose the ability to feel empathy for others. This can also be applied to adults as well. The abuse of drugs and alcohol affects emotions, behavior and thinking of a person. These drugs are used so that people can escape their problems and forget about everything even if it is for a short period of time. As these drugs affect the way a person thinks, they may do things they wouldn’t normally do. The more intoxicated they get, the more crazier things they can do. One day I was out at a club with my friends. Normally my friend is very quiet and shy, when we got to drinking she was a completely different person. She normally wouldn’t dance or drink but that day as she was drinking she started dancing with complete strangers. She was having the time of her life, what I want to get out of this is that she did things she normally wouldn’t do, all because she had a few drinks. The alcohol made her not think like she normally did. The next day she told us that she had a great time and that she even forgot about a;l her problems. As stated before, many times people drink to forget, forget their pain, their worries, and their anger. One of my cousin’s started drinking from a very young age, this was because his father would often violently attack my cousin’s mother (many years ago). His father also wouldn’t pay much attention to him. “Unvalued kids have rage towards others” (Valdez, 2020). My cousin became very angry, and depressed at a young age, he turned to alcohol to relieve that pain. He started to bully others because he thought it was okay and it was a form of relieving his anger and his stress. The violent acts he observed caused his behavior to change for the bad.

Microaggression can also be another form of violence that can affect the behavior of people. “Microaggressions can affect behavior” (Valdez, 2020). Microaggressions are a soft form of racism. They can also be insults against marginalized groups. An example of microaggression can be asking a latino “where are you really from?” or “Wow you’re very smart for being a latina girl”. When I was younger I would question why people sounded so surprised that I was very smart. Then I realized that people said this because they think that most latino people aren’t smart. They would ask me where I was really from because of the color of my skin and my hair. This caused me to change my behavior in a way. I was no longer passive, I would become sarcastic, I would start arguing, and even start criticizing that person. The microaggressions affected my behavior to this day I am no longer passive like I was before.

Brain development can also be affected by violence in the lives of young children, youth and adults. People can suffer from depression and other mental health problems because of the violence they observe and endure.“Brain development can be influenced by poverty, dysfunctional family life and exposure to violence and homelessness” (Valdez, 2020). Children who experience violence at a young age can grow up thinking violence is okay and tolerated. As Professor Valdez states in lecture B of the first week of class, “children see and hear everything”. The early exposure to violence and dysfunctional family life can cause the development of a child’s brain to advance or delay. The child can suffer from mental health problems causing them to lose sleep, and stop eating which hinders the way the child functions. A person who is suffering from malnutrition/starvation won’t be able to learn how to do things the other children are doing. They don’t have the energy or strength to do the activities they should be doing. They won’t be able to go outside to play, do exercise and hang out with people. We should also take into account that violence can speed up the child’s brain development. They learn to do things at an early age, start to defend themselves and make good decisions. While others may be impulsive, and make bad decisions. Violence such as physical, mental and emotional abuse can affect the brain development of a person. A person that is raped or molested can become depressed as stated above or have other mental health problems because of the violence they endured. They are traumatized, scared, and they may even feel guilty and ashamed. This affects their brain development because they aren’t able to trust others and this can affect their ability to develop social identity. They close themselves off from others.

Violence can also affect the emotions of a person in different ways throughout their life. As stated before, people who experience violence at any point of their life can feel numbness towards others. They can also feel anger, helplessness, fear, and loss of control. Emotional abuse can be a form of violence that a person can endure that can affect their emotions. Based on a true story, let’s take for example a young couple, a man and a woman have been dating for quite some time, within this relationship there has been emotional abuse. The young man would always yell at his girlfriend, calling her names, belittling and humiliating her. She loved him and stayed with him regardless of the things he did to her. As time went by the young lady got tired of the situation and decided to end the relationship. While in the relationship she felt depressed and sad and always blamed herself for the things the guy did to her. Years went by and she found a nice man, started talking to him but never wanted to get into a relationship with him. Her emotions have been affected by the violence she endured, she felt fear that she could land in an unhealthy relationship again. She couldn’t trust anyone, she let her emotions get the best of her. She always felt angry and guilty like it was her fault. A child can have different ACEs, such as different types of abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. “The more ACEs you have the more impact you have” (Valdez, 2020). When parents yell at them or treat them badly, neglect them and emotionally abuse them they close themselves off, they start to feel anger and sadness. They become the doer instead of being the victim. They go to bully others, as a way to relieve their anger. They start to lack empathy for others which leads them to do violence. They start to have a mentality of “I went through this so you can too, I suffer you suffer.” Instead of trying to stop people from doing violence they practice instead.

Although many experience violence, some people go down the wrong path. They start doing drugs, drinking alcohol, and joining gangs. People turn to these things because they have nowhere else to go. They have many ACEs and Seattle risk factors that lead them to these negative influences. Many of the people in street gangs are there because they had a lack of positive influences, and had bad experiences. They have no one to turn to but the streets. This brings us to one reason gangs might use violence. Gang members become their family, they would do almost anything for their fellow gang members. They will avenge their fellow gang members if someone did something to them. This is called payback. Lets take for example mad-dogging is to disrespect a gang member in the form of a derogatory stare or glaring” (Valdez, 2011, p. 86). If a person is caught mad-dogging a gang member there will be retaliation. The gang members may shoot the person or beat that person up to teach them a lesson. Another reason gangs will use violence is “jump-in & jump-out, you are a victim of gang violence” (Valdez, 2020). When someone is jumped in, this means they are getting beat up in order to join the gang, it’s a form or initiation. When you are jumped out it’s a form of parting. Many times “violence can be used to gain respect and membership in a street gang” (Valdez, 2020). Take for example the video we watched in lecture of Ross Capicchioni. His good friend asked him for a ride. Not thinking much of it, Ross gave him a ride but ended up getting shot with a shotgun by his friend. He later comes to find out that his friend shot him as a way to get membership into a gang and earn respect. The more you participate in violence the more respect you gain within your gang and rival gangs. They fear you more because they know you ain’t “weak”. Gangs also use violence because of the disrespect that is given to them. “No insult goes unanswered” (Valdez, 2020). If a rival gang crosses out their graffiti the gang will take vengeance. They will use violence as a form of showing the other gang whos boss. No one can mess with them because if they do they will get injured and even killed.

Violence affects people in many different ways, ways that we may not understand. From the violence that is experienced people can become a doer, victim or witness. People w can lead a life on a positive path or lead a life on a negative path. Regardless of the life you live, the violence you have endured will have an affect on you. It will affect your brain development, behaviors and emotions. It can help you get closer to people, have trust and love people or feel a sense of mistrust and feel indifferent towards others. This can be both for gang and non-gang members. Violence can be a way to get close to other gang members and feel that sense of unity. That they have your back and you have their back.

Works Cited

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