Last week I attended an interesting discussion/workgroup on family violence social indicators.  While there is some agreement on what are social indicators of violence, there is debate on what are the most important indicators to study to get the best information.  In the section of preliminary social indicators are the community context areas limited to alcohol abuse, substance abuse, poverty, and unemployment?  Or are these symptoms or outcomes of violence?  Do these issues predict or cause violence or does violence make one more at risk for these problems?

I wonder if with all these efforts to classify and categorize violence really help us understand the scope of violence and its effects on individuals, families, and communities.  I feel it’s a much more blended phenomenon in our culture  and beyond simple cause and effect.  Meaning that to simplify a violent experience as the cause of alcoholism or that alcoholism puts one at a higher risk for violence denies the greater impact of the culture of violence in our society as influencing the overall presence and acceptance of violence in our society.