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    Cultivating Community and Support Against Violence in the Digital Age

    Cultivating Community and Support Against Violence in the Digital Age

    We live in an imperfect society with many flaws.  These issues have always existed; however, the modern digital age has allowed some of these issues to become national news and national movements.  One of these issues that we hear about is domestic abuse.  This issue affects a large number of people, mainly women, and every claim deserves to be taken seriously.  In addition, we must be very careful to protect victims and ensure that false accusations are dismissed.  This is a lot easier said than done, but it is everyone’s social duty to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.


    Being rich and famous can come at a cost.  One of the issues is you are constantly being judged and watched by the public; yet, in the last several years we have seen a rise in the number of news stories that involve famous people and abuse.  Some of these accusations are false and in time are proven to be so; however, unfortunately a large number of these accusations are found to be true.  It is likely that abuse issues existed long before the digital age and as a society these issues went unnoticed.  Thankfully the internet and instant news has allowed celebrities who are guilty of these crimes to be caught more often.  The real scary thing is how many social injustice and domestic abuse issues are still not known about.  Famous people are given the power to make a difference in society and we are lucky that in the last few years that many people have taken a stand against violence.  We must follow the example set by these extraordinary people.  Furthermore, no matter how rich or powerful you are you should be accountable for your actions.  People in the view of the public who commit acts of abuse should be punished and held accountable no matter what.  So, if a famous person is found guilty of abuse, boycott their products and brands and make a personal statement standing up to them.  If we, as a society, do not support people who are found guilty of a crime punish them in the only we you can as an individual, by not supporting them.


    Two Types of Criminals

    Physically abusing someone is inexcusable; however, it does happen.  The real question is what to do with the criminals.  This is a complex issue that cannot be answered simply.  People found guilty of violent crimes deserve punishment; however, people also deserve a second chance.  This is a difficult situation.  How much punishment is enough and how do you tell if someone is actually remorseful.  Situations matter.  Some criminals get drunk and make a onetime poor decision while others are repeat offenders who do not care who they harm.  These people should be treated differently but it is difficult to separate them.  A starting point to tell the difference is what does the perpetrator of a crime do afterward?  Do they admit they were wrong and show true remorse.  Furthermore, does this person use his/her bad choice as an example and platform to help others from making the same poor decision or does the person simply not care.  There is a major difference in these two situations.   If someone learns from there mistake, they can potentially help dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people from making the same mistake and can potentially be an agent of good.  This is even more relevant for athletes or celebrities who have a platform to talk about the issue; however, being famous should not be a prerequisite.  People who learn from mistakes and are willing to contribute to society deserve the chance to do so.  This opportunity should not be taken lightly and should be closely monitored though.  In contrast, someone who commits a crime of abuse and continues to make excuses and tries to justify their crime has a different path.  This type of person is more likely to be a repeat offender and should likely not be given a chance for redemption.  People who commit a violent crime should have to pay for their actions especially those who do not feel remorseful.  In conclusion, the individual matters and how we punish each individual should be taken on a case by case basis.  It is wrong to assume every abuse case is the same and it is important that we allow people found guilty of these crimes to at least have a path to earn some sort of redemption.  The important word is earn, nothing should be easy for people who committed a crime.


    Be an Advocate and Be Supportive

    One of the reasons abuse cases are not reported is the victim feels like they have no evidence and that they will be persecuted for speaking out.  As a society, this fear must be alleviated and we must support victims.  If someone says something to you about abuse, do not ignore them.  It is hard for victims to come forward and we must create a society where they feel comfortable doing so.  Speaking out is the first and most important step to creating change.  Furthermore, by speaking out you might inspire someone else who has been a victim to come forward.  Some abuse criminals are repeat offenders and they continue to get away with the crime because victims do not feel comfortable saying something.  Many crimes have been allowed to be committed because people were scared to speak up.  We, as a society, can no longer ignore people when they say they are victims of a crime.  We must provide support for the victims and we must file charges against the criminals so they can be punished.  It is more important than ever that we listen to people who make accusations and that we support them.  We have the ability, as a society, through the internet and social media to stand up for what is right.  It is important that we do so and that we show that victims can come forward without the fear of retribution and that we get them the help they need. 


    Support Groups

    It is important to point out that victims of a crime have to live with what happened to them for the rest of their lives.  Sending the person who committed the egregious action to jail is important but does not fix the damage that the criminal has already done.  As a society we must do everything we can to provide support for victims and to ensure they get whatever help they need to move forward.  This again is not simple because every victim is different and every person might need a different type of support.  Some people prefer to be anonymous and others prefer to use their stories to help others.  No matter what the individual needs we must find a way to help.  If you know a victim be supportive of them and be available to help if they ask.  This could be as simple as going to court with them or can be more complicated such as starting a social outreach program.  Finally if you are a victim please look up programs to help.  You deserve justice and deserve to move forward with your lives and remember there are people who will stand with you and who will help you.  You just have to find them.