Editorial: example alone matters

PHOTO: SCANPIX

A sad story laid out in Postimees today: having battered his pregnant partner, a man may get three years if convicted. Just a case among thousands, though...

Last year, 2,781 close relative violence cases were initiated by Police. In other words, seven people a day face violence by those they should trust the most. According to experts, the reality may be at least ten times worse.

Statistics say family violence in Estonia keeps increasing yearly. Perhaps a silver lining: it’s mainly the statistics that is going up, the people probably emboldened to let outside world know.

The tendency to speak out is welcome. It is the violent one who needs to be ashamed, not the victim. Violence is never the victim’s fault, and is justified by nothing. Anyone telling their case will do a service to others, erasing impunity. Thankfully, families aren’t too stuck with the keep-it-hidden mentality...

Important here to think of the future. As revealed by a justice ministry study on kids’ misbehaviour, falling victim to family violence and being eyewitness thereof is for kids a vital risk factor. The example is likely so stick. Thereby, the pattern may spread to schools, streets, the cyber space – and the evil will increase.

A couple of years ago, an Australian child protectors' video «Children see. Children do» started to do the YouTube run, serving to show how kids copy grown-ups.

Painfully, the clip pointed out home violence: a man beats wife, the son follows suit. Desiring to raise kids able to settle issues otherwise than by violence, talk will not suffice – if actions differ. The only solution is personal example.

Step No 1: get it – violence is wrong, not to be tolerated by society nor by law. So be supportive towards those who disclose the violence. Again: to talk is not a shame. To beat is.

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