Monday, July 30, 2007

Violence Against Women and Children Goes Unmeasured

Recently, the Economist Intelligence Unit created the Global Peace Index -- a ranking of countries according to their level of peacefulness.

It's hoped the Index will further the study of how the world can achieve peace. But the Index seems to have a major flaw: It does not track violence done to women and children. Hence, countries in which great violence is done towards women and children show up in the Index ranked deceptively high for "peacefulness".

From the Christian Science Monitor:

The first-ever study ranking countries according to their level of peacefulness, the Global Peace Index, was recently published by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Sensibly, its basic premise is that "peace isn't just the absence of war; it's the absence of violence."

The index uses 24 indicators such as how many soldiers are killed, the level of violent crimes, and relations with neighboring countries.

Yet it fails to include the most prevalent form of global violence: violence against women and children, often in their own families. To put it mildly, this blind spot makes the index very inaccurate.

That certainly is "putting it mildly". Overall, violence towards women and children creates a "cycle of violence" in which the children tend to perpetuate violence towards others when they grow up. Two infamous cases where that happened were Hitler and Stalin -- both of whom grew up in violent households. It's hard to believe you can accurately measure the peacefulness of a society without taking into rigorous account the society's treatment of women and children.


Nita said...

Hi Paul. I find this subject really interesting. In fact you mentioned something like in one of your comments on my blog post about violence against children and its set me thinking about this.
Is there a connection between state sponsored violence and family violence? Is there any study which has established any connection? Unfortunately not all countries are up front about whats happening inside their own country so I guess its difficult to find out for sure. Also while violence towards a child does produce violence in adults, could it also not produce meek adults, lying adults, dysfunctional adults, suicidal adults, and basically adults who are only strong when they face someone a woman and a child? After all, facing an enemy in war requires are certain kind of bravery (terrorism is however cowardice) ? No, I am not a believer in war...but I do think it requires very brave men and women to go out there and fight.

Paul said...

Hi Nita! I'm pleased and honored by your visit to my blog -- especially since your blog is among the very best I've found on the net. You ask what I think are some crucially important questions. I am going to see if I can find any research published online that addresses them. This will be an interesting project. In the meantime, if you find anything yourself, please let me know.