Root Causes of Violence

People may become violent due to different instances that have occurred in their life or the life of
someone close to them. Three such instances are Economic Distress, Family Dysfunction, and Drug and
Alcohol Abuse. Let’s take a closer look at these three different categories.
Economic Distress
In most societies when “times are hard” there is an increase in violence. No one wants to be poor but
not everyone knows how to deal with poverty without turning to violence. It’s hard when jobs are few
and bills are many. Many people in these situations do not know how to handle the stress caused by the
situation and become violent towards their loved ones and complete strangers. They are upset that they
cannot seem to make ends meet and that there are very few opportunities out there for them. Most
people that are affected by or threatened by poverty are those with little education and/or no skill
therefore making it very difficult for them to compete in the working world.
Family Dysfunction
Dysfunctional families are usually families where abuse, conflict and misbehavior are present and
regular. Many different factors such as unemployment, natural disasters, physical and/or mental illness,
etc. can create dysfunctional families. In our society, and most societies around the world,
unemployment creates a lot of tension in households. This tension can lead to verbal and/or physical
abuse and substance abuse as a way for individuals to deal with the tension. Some parents use their
children as “scape goats” and abuse them physically and verbally. Children of these families tend to
become violent adults as a way of coping with their childhood and what may have continued into their
adult hood.
Mental illness in our society is still not fully understood and often times ridiculed. Instead of
accepting the fact that a child may have a mental illness or some sort of learning disability, many
parents prefer to be ignorant to this and treat their child as any other ‘normal’ child. We don’t want to
send our child to the Special Needs School because then everyone will see the uniform and know
something is wrong with our child. Lack of understanding of mental illness creates parents to get angry
with their child for not being able to understand simple instructions and in turn the parents become
very violent with their child.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Drug and Alcohol Abuse, also known as substance abuse, is where drugs or alcohol is used in ways that
are destructive to themselves and others. Drugs and Alcohol alter our state of mind and our ability to
think logically. While affected by a substance, the smallest incident can trigger violent thoughts that
then lead to violent acts. Many people turn to substance abuse as a way to deal with the stresses of life.
It is a temporary escape from the real world and because it is often short lived; a person tends to
become addicted to the substance and constantly feels as though they need more. When they can’t get
more they can become violent in their quest for their temporary relief. While alcohol in moderation
does not cause severe damage, large consumptions of alcohol in one sitting can cause a person to
become violent, depressed, physically incapacitated, and much more. Alcoholism in our society is not
looked at as a disease but it should be. Many people would spend their last dollar on a “piti” of rum
instead of putting it towards a bill or food for their family. Many men and women have lost their jobs
because of the affect alcohol has had on their lives. They then become a burden to their families
because they can do no better for themselves. They need that fix and that is what their money goes

towards. We need to have programs put in place to help people break their addictions instead of
watching them spiral out of control.
Leave out Violence in SVG Association