It’s important to understand that domestic violence is not just an individual psychological problem, it’s also a systemic problem. There is a culture of violence in which we live that perpetuates violence. And by that I don’t mean just the violence that we see around us, I also mean the context in which violence occurs – poverty, inequality, inequitable social and familial structures.
In the context of poverty/inequality I think it is important to think about labor market issues and how unprepared labor is being thrown into the labor market in the hopes of alleviating poverty in their lives, and how they end up being exploited in a globalized economy where cheap labor has the ability to drive down costs of production, and thereby increase the margin of profits for a handful of people. This is not a new problem, but the way in which we look at interventions, even economic interventions, has to change. In addition to the economic impact of interventions we need to assess individual level outcomes in terms of mental health and quality of life, and relational impacts in terms of marital quality and risk of domestic violence.
As such, I’m interested in trying to connect the dots between the systemic and the individual; to understand exactly how global, systemic, macro level indicators impact micro level indicators.
Witnessing or experiencing violence is like playing tag, if you will. Once that happens, once you’ve seen violence, the next day it happens, it’s not as bad. Which means, you’ve internalized a part of it. And that’s really the problem with violence. There’s no stopping it. Once it’s out there, it’s out there, and then somebody else will pick it up -- somebody else will take on the pattern and exert violence elsewhere. And unless it is dealt with, you will live with the trauma associated with it.