More whispers (Talkaboutit part 2)

(Probably a bit inarticulate due to obvious reasons)

I was thinking about my previous post (what we were never told about rape while growing up) and I realize there is another taboo subject that is tangentially related to rape, but is not rape: violence.

As children we are rarely taught how to identify violence and how to defend ourselves against it. Pretty much like rape is defined as a sort of “boogieman stranger lurking in dark alleys”, violence is defined in its most obvious, clear cut type (the extreme physical kind, mostly), but almost never as the day to day occurrences most people experience since childhood. Microagressions documents many of these instances, but they are generally inflicted on adults by other adults; however there are so many other kinds of violence we are not taught to properly spot since childhood.

Parents telling their children they are fat or not smart enough or ugly; teachers rolling eyes at the child who is not quick enough; slaps in the face due to misbehavior; the squashing of dreams or hopes because they are not “realistic”; children laughing at other children for being different (not necessarily bullying, which, again, is easy to spot, but the more subtle form of putting someone in their place for being the odd one); immigrant kids laughed at because they speak with an accent (sometimes even by adults). All of them are forms of violence to some degree.

And in most cases we have become totally blind to their true nature. We have grown up to internalize these incidents as “normal”, as part of life; told to “get over them” if we complain. However, I contend that each of these forms of violence leaves a trace in us. We experience them almost since birth and we carry the emotional burden onto adulthood. And then, we become the aggressors ourselves because, let’s not fool anyone here, violence does beget more violence.

Just like we need to rethink the way we talk about rape, I believe the subject is inextricably related to how we talk about violence. Unless we learn to put a name to all these forms of aggression, we are going to continue inflicting them to one another.

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