Those of you who know me personally know that I am a volunteer in training at ReachOut, a crisis outreach hotline in my area. It’s a service that is dedicated to helping those in this county step out of their depressive or even suicidal tendencies, and to seek or get help. We have a mobile team whose job is to assess the danger level of an individual on visiting them to determine if they need medical treatment for their mental states. I bring this up for one reason.
This kind of service, as far as I understand it from conversations with our director, is relatively new. These programs in my local area started in the seventies under a wave of eureka moments when individuals discovered that there was no help for those in need in the community. My community, though covering a large area, is one of the poorest and smallest in New York State- yet we have access to mental health professionals across the county and community services dedicated to helping victims of abuse and those caught in the clutches of depression.
While I may be wrong in my understanding that the average yearly number of calls we receive has gone down, I can be sure that I am not wrong in noting that there is a growing trend towards a desire to help and protect those in the area who need it. One only needs to look at the clubs and organizations pages at their local university to see a whole list of inclusion-oriented programs garnered towards the LGBTQ, female, and ethnic communities enrolled.
In light of this, under increasing student pressure, I have found that schools are starting to pride themselves on their inclusiveness and sensitivity towards victims of sexual and domestic abuse, ethnic hate crimes, and increasing diversity. Posters litter campuses with slogans describing (according to the school) what rape is and practically begging victims to come forward to the local authorities. This occurs alongside students mercilessly pointing out any failures of the school to act when needed.
For example, during my time at Binghamton University two students were murdered in domestic disputes. One, a young woman strangled to death by an ex, and the other a young man stabbed to death by his girlfriend’s ex. Candlelight vigils were held, students protested- it was a heartbreaking and life altering time that affected the campus spirit. Here in Potsdam the students posted in the newspaper how the campus authorities are not properly handling off campus rapes. I hear stories left and right about the University Police not handling one case well, and other times when students claim they are racist.
Thinking about these examples, examples I witnessed to some extent, sheds light on what I’m up against in this post. As a rape victim myself, I know that these issues are present and clear. I have to my recollection not dated a single person who did not suffer some kind of abuse in their lifetime.
The problems of our society are in our face and they speak loud. But I ask that while you read this you look carefully at what details there are, and try not to reflect on what you see yourself, but what is actually happening on a global scale.
I bring you now to the strangest revelation. Violence, for our purposes an act of aggression performed from one person onto another, is a dropping trend in human society and has been dropping not for decades, but centuries.