EDITORIAL

Stop the Violence!

It’s been more than 50 days since Romanian mass-media has been dominated by issues including the referendum, Constitutional Court, the status of Romania’s president, of the new justice minister, so on and so forth. Seldom you can see a news report about a current event, and it appears this is exactly what makes their frequency and gravity increase. Violence is among them, be it on roads, in schools, and mostly at home, which is its most serious manifestation given it often goes unpunished. Just one example: some days ago, a man treaded his wife underfoot in Mamaia. The woman escaped thanks to some courageous bystanders. The police was alerted, yet, the woman would not file a complaint, obviously for fear such episode could happen again. Also, a man from Botosani beat his wife black and blue, and, when hooded police came to their rescue, the man jumped at them with an axe.

In this instance too, the woman would not file a police complaint, from fear of further violence, too. There are countless such domestic violence examples, involving not just the husband and wife, but also son-in-laws and parents-in-law.The frequency and gravity of domestic violence also makes it bear an effect on children as well, who are either the subject of violence themselves or just witnesses to it. During the last three months of the school year 2011-2012, there were registered 4,600 cases of school violence, of whom over 60 in Bucharest alone. In Ramnicu-Valcea, a classroom turned into a boxing ring, in the street etc. , with “championship” teams. Violence spreads to schoolyards, in the streets. Sexual violence is also an issue, along with juvenile delinquency including bloody aggressions that sometimes lead to death.Among the causes of  such  serious behaviour deficiencies, family collapse, including the departure of one or both of the parents to work abroad, as well as chronic poverty, illiteracy, child abandonment, as well as administrative flaws. Violent case sentencing is also an issue given prison overcrowding and the state spending more on a prison inmate than on a child in a nursery home. Therefore, many inmates are released before they served the whole sentence, although the resulted savings are quite small given most of them  resort to violence and go back to prison, and on and on. Yet, what is even more serious is that, criminal violence aside, the measures taken against domestic violence are inefficient. Violence in schools, too, is increasing, and that also because violent children being given low behaviour grades are the main tool available to crack down on such acts, as elimination from school is a sanction all too seldom employed, and rightly so, since, applied on a large scale, would increase illiteracy, which in turn stirs violence. Family could play a decisive role in combating such negative developments, which, unfortunately, is often unable to play, given the Romanian family is attacked on several fronts, its traditional nuclear role significantly declining. Under increasingly difficult work and living conditions, family members begin having contradicting views, hence domestic violence. The older, conservative generations tend to adopt a wait and see policy or they flatly refuse to cooperate with the younger family members. The family income is therefore segmented, which makes some of its members seek income sources abroad, hence the massive emigration.Yet, emigration itself does not solve the problems left behind, and even augment discrepancies induced by poverty,  which, correlated with the lack of education, has a brutal effect on all family members. The adage “spare the rod and spoil the child” wreaks havoc and is a dehumanizing factor as well. The women and the children are the most impacted by it. Domestic violence is on the rise, although official statistics only include reported cases. Yet, many such instances remain unreported, with serious consequences for the family unit, increasingly vulnerable to life’s hardships. And in such cases, the nation itself shows less and less solidarity, and therefore increasingly vulnerable to secessionist partisans enticed by chaotic regionalization.Children are most seriously impacted by domestic violence. The demographic collapse is another reason for worry, mostly due to the high number of abortions, nearly one million a year, which they, too, are a form of domestic violence. A violence unfortunately accepted, and even stimulated by the current legislation. Yet, many of the newly born, mostly those in rural areas, are victims of countless diseases. Romania has the highest infant mortality rate across the EU, as well as the highest school dropout rate as a result of “child rebellion” as well as the desperation of some parents or grand parents who send them to work from a very young age. Domestic violence and family dissolution explain the drug invasion affecting children as young a 8-9 year old, and they are also at the root of growing juvenile delinquency, not to mention the increasingly frequent instances of teen suicides triggered by family dramas. Adolescents often collapse in a sexual behaviour which often results in newly born being abandoned in maternity hospitals or even killed in the wake of being given birth.Bringing violence to a stop, in the first place by eliminating their causes, must become a strategic goal of a truly national governance.

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