Sunday, May 19th

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Editorial - Violence begets violence

With all the attention on hard crime following Wednesday’s lamentable incident in Philipsburg, the interview with – just departed – former President of Safe Haven Oldine Bryson-Pantophlet in today’s paper should not go unnoticed. Having headed the organisation for the last 10 years, been on the board another five and before that worked as a volunteer starting soon after the programme was launched in 1998, she obviously knows what’s she’s talking about.

One of the most important aspects of providing shelter for abuse victims is discretion, for obvious reasons. The exact location of the facility consequently has remained a well-kept secret during all those years.

Although the work of all involved in providing this much-needed relief is certainly admirable, there is still a lot to be done. While Bryson-Pantophlet now feels comfortable stepping down because things are “in a better place,” she readily admits that domestic violence is still a big problem on the island.

When discussing aggressive behaviour among today’s youth, grownups often point to outside influences such as the rap scene and extreme video games. Rarely do people take a look in the mirror to see in what way they themselves could be contributing.

How adults treat each other, especially in front of children, has a bigger impact than many may think. Respect is best taught by example rather than preaching, so telling adolescents to “do as I say, not as I do” simply isn’t good enough.

Scientists have long since shown that youngsters who grow up in an environment with structural abuse, whether physical or mental and regardless of who was the target, have a greater tendency to become future abusers too. A significant factor in the seemingly enhanced delinquency on the island is likely the problems within an ever-increasing number of homes and/or families.

Safe Haven is doing what it can, but ultimately this is something the community as a whole and parents in particular need to tackle.

Violence begets violence; it’s as simple as that.