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Child abuse is a major problem in our country. Child Abuse Prevention Agency estimates that 25-50% of children experience some form of abuse, this represents a pretty significant number. We know that abuse of children can lead to psychological disorders which could destabilize the community. So what are our options to deal with child abuse? In my Psych 496a-001 booklet it describes two methods to affect change for the better. The two methods are prevention and empowerment. Empowerment is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as: to promote the self-actualization or influence of. Prevention is defined as: to keep from happening or existing. The booklet explains the downfalls and issues associated with both. Yet, we have to start somewhere take baby step until our goal is met.

Though prevention is hard to see because you already prevent the abuse from happening and sometimes we understand the parent does not want to abuse the child but they do not know they are doing it. A lot of times Social Economic Status (SES) plays a role in raising children and parents don’t know the difference between abuse and healthy discipline. Often times parents have been abused themselves and they only know what they have learned. Most of the time parents are so young when they have children they are not ready to take on the responsibility of being a parent when they themselves are still a kid. There are so many factors contributing to why child abuse exist, but I think scientifically it all boil down to our K-factor. Maybe parents to be should take time to learn about their K-factor before decided to have children, since children require high parental investment.

Prevention: Abuse often happens when parents are not prepared to deal with the challenges of raising children. Prevention of child abuse generally seems to focus on educating parents on the realities of having children. This makes it less of a surprise when children start behaving like children. Also, the parents are given tools and models to use to cope with the child and support throughout the process of childrearing. Also, prevention programs may provide resources in the form of childcare equipment and money. These things help to take away some stressors of raising children in order to make the free up the parent to deal with the stressors the child will present. Prevention can also come in the form of programs which train children to deal with and adjust to with becoming adults and the possibility of raising children. Again, preparing the young adult ahead of time can help them deal with the stressors and hopefully lead to less child abuse in coming generations.

Empowerment: In child empowerment programs, children are taught how to deal with abuse in their lives. They are given counseling and systems to prevent abuse. These things can be as simple as emphasizing the role of adults in their lives, explaining right and wrong, and giving children the language they may need in order to prevent abuse from happening to them. Children are also educated in the resources available to deal with child abuse and how to contact the appropriate authorities should child abuse happen to them.

Prevention and empowerment seem to be combined in order to make the prevention of child abuse more effective. This being the case, why is child abuse still so prevalent? There are many programs such as Educare available and it seems they are pretty widespread. Take AVANCE for example, which started out by Gloria G. Rodriguez in San Antonio, Texas, a family Support and Education Program on issues of health and education for parents and children.

I think the problem comes down to community education and funding (surprise huh?). Well, the long term affects on child abuse on the community are readily available, but seldom referenced by organizations trying to sell child abuse prevention. Obviously people are most influenced by what affects them directly, but if we can educate the citizens of our community on the big picture, maybe more support will be rendered. More emphasis needs to be placed in politics in order to prevent child abuse. If we could make it a “hot topic” during the appropriate voting period, maybe more people will care. Why is there a stronger voice for children who haven’t been born (the pro-life movement), than for those who are already here. I think another effective program could be one where the responsibility to prevent child abuse is emphasized in the children’s education programs. Maybe, if we teach children to watch out for each other, there will ultimately be less abuse. Children could be taught to pass on their education to others and to use their community (other children around them), to help them deal with the problem.

In my search for new info on Victim Blaming, I ran across this interesting article on the subject. Basically, Ben Rothlisberger an NFL football player was recently accused of raping a woman. After a few weeks of speculation, and no charges filed, it has become clear that the accusations are false. The request for Mr. Rothlisbergers DNA has been dropped. After all of the evidence which clearly indicates that no crime was committed (on Rothlisbergers part), the media and society have turned on him. He is the victim in all of this. Someone made an illegal false report, with him being the victim. The media and others are stating that it is his fault. They make statements like “He should have showed better judgment” and “he is a celebrity and should expect these things.” In this video you can see an example of the way the commentators are treating him.

This is an interesting new form of victim blaming to me. I always thought of it from a more clearly criminal perspective. I never thought that the person accused could somehow become a victim and subsequently be victim blamed. It seems to me that society seems to apply a lot of this to celebrities: As if they are somehow supposed to be smarter than everyone else and are therefore responsible for the crimes committed on them. This is wrong. These are people just like us. Imagine how infuriating it would be if someone made a false accusation against you, and everyone around you blamed you for it.

Victim blaming means that you blame the victim for something; an incident that happened to them like rape, assault, slander, or reputation damage. In our society we like to hold a person accountable for their faults rather than looking for other contributing factors. Take the world wide web for example, people go online and tell strangers everything about themselves, reveal information that even the people that they see day to day do not even know. They give out information like what they like, where they live, what their daily activities are and they even expose themselves through pictures and videos.

The worst information that they reveal about themselves can be viewed negatively later when undesirable events happen to them. People tend to blame the victim because maybe the victim could have prevented the incident from happening by not acting the way they did in order to provoke the offender. Sometimes it starts out innocent, from both the victim and the offender’s perspective but eventually it will lead to the crime. More often, these kinds of victims are female. Some say that because females lack attention offline they go online searching for that attention. So even though they are a victim of the crime, no one will give them any sympathy because they are guilty and because they put themselves in potential danger. Just because they are online doesn’t mean they are safe.

From a community psychology perspective I think one way to counter victim blaming is to bring it to light. I think that in some cases, like rape cases, when victim blaming takes place it’s obvious and egregious. In other cases, like the Rothlisberger case, it seems to be more accepted. If a news commentator can sit on television and make statements against a victim without repercussion, then something is clearly wrong. Imagine if he had been making the same statements against the supposed rape victim, what would the network have done then? Feminist groups the curvature and feministing seem to be the most outspoken about the occurrence of victim blaming towards female victims. Their voice seems to be heard though. If there were similar groups to identify and fight back against all forms of victim blaming, then maybe it would be less likely to happen. First though, the public needs to be more conscious of the phenomena.

The following videos give information about how people can be manipulated psychologically:

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The videos were very interesting in that they covered specific instances of turning public sentiment and an overall change in the U.S. perception and consumption trends. As you can see, the first video starts by describing a problem that U.S. Tobacco corporations were having in getting women to smoke. The tobacco corporations hired Edward Bernays to find out what it would take to get women to smoke. Edward Bernays decided to seek the advice of a prominent psychologist who gave him advice on how to entice women to smoking. This seemed to kick off a new wave of use of psychologists and psychology to control and manipulate people within our society.

The point in these videos that stuck with me the most was the change in the philosophy of consumption within the U.S. Whereas the standard way to advertise before these changes was to appeal to an individuals sense of need, Edward Bernays and colleagues were successful in changing this to appealing to a sense of want. The video portrays this as a dramatic change which altered our buying habits, our economic drive, and ultimately, the way we live. This struck a chord with me because as I look around everyday I see the effects of this change in our society. This is especially true if you look at the current acceptance of debt and the events that drove us to our current economic situation. We are entirely too consumed with conspicuous consumption.

From a community psychology perspective I find myself questioning the legitimacy and reality of the effects discussed in this video. On one hand, the techniques discussed seem to take into account the community psyche in determining a way to cause people to part with their pennies, or vote in a particular way. On the other hand, what is the reality of the affects listed, and where might I find the research to back this up? Obviously, the dollar drives the changes affected by public relations and advertising. The fact that such sweeping change was realized in such a short period of time and with relatively little investment is amazing.

When discussing enacting change in community psychology, people often point to the idea of small wins which was first introduced by Karl E. Weick. If you can enact change in a few, then others will follow, ultimately accomplishing the overarching goal. Well, as we see in this video, sweeping change can be made if we focus on the right buttons to push in order to enact it. It may be a bit more manipulative than the small wins theory, but think of the amount of good that could be accomplished by using some of these ideas for the benefit of the community rather than pushing consumer goods. I think that if community psychology was able to take a more in-depth look at the psychology of consumption and the associated affects of advertising, we might find a more effective way of changing perceptions and ultimately bettering society. After all community psychology is the collaboration of professionals and citizens in the practice of rigorous research and intensive action focused on helping individuals and communities flourish in the perpetuation of the common good. So, the manipulative actions, including the idea of modifying a persons’ or groups’ wants and perceptions of need, seems a bit extreme. But, if it ultimately creates a better society, I think it is a step we should take.

…Oh wait, it’s because we killed, displaced, enslaved discriminated, raped and generally abused them for the last 518 years…some would said that it’s genocidal acts and crimes against humanity

Social Problem

Imagine this…Mexico invades. You are taken from your home in Tucson or Sierra Vista, with your husband or wife and kids and your good job, and you’re moved to ElFrida Reservation. You are now unemployed, homeless, moneyless, and you, or your wife, are pregnant with a child conceived by a mexican soldier who committed rape. One quarter of your friends died walking to the reservation (did you think they would let you drive), and half your family is dead because of the anthrax laced blankets that were handed out to them when they were walking to their respective reservations. Oh yeah, there are over 1 million Americans now enslaved to work agricultural areas. You have no way to feed, clothe or shelter your family without government assistance, Mexican government assistance. They provide you with the bare minimum to keep you alive.

Oppression

Four Generations later…
Your children grew up on the reservation. Your daughter prostituted herself out to the wealthy Mexicans living in Tucson. One of your sons died of a morphine overdose due to addiction (morphine is cheap and is therefore distributed by the government readily to the reservations in order to placate the Americans). Your other son got a job in Tucson mowing the lawns at the golf resort and had children of his own, who had their own children. Your great grandchildren still live on the reservation in squalor. Because of the events that have transpired, they make enough to survive (barely) but have a constant reminder of the evil that put them there and the life they should be living right next door (Like the Pascua Yaqui Reservation next to Tucson). Since you grew up in a culture which is backwards looking, the stories of the atrocities committed on you, continue to be passed down to your children and their children. Your great grandchildren are filled with hatred and a sense of hopelessness and helplessness.

Now do you see why the Native Americans feel the way they do about their situation? Do you see how their situation may be comparable to the holocaust in Conceptualizing and Measuring Historical Tramuma Among American Indian People?

Take a look at their stories and removal of Indian

Why 518 Years? Because the atrocities committed by the US government are not separated in their eyes from the rest of the atrocities committed since the landing of the Europeans. In Native Americans eyes we are viewed as one small group of a larger group of invaders. We are all descendants of the Europeans that came before us.

Some facts and statistics:
-Conservative estimates place the Native Americans population in the late 15th century at 10 Million. Some credible estimates are as high as 60 Million. Currently, the population is estimated at around 2.4 Million.
-Documents and ideas like Manifest Destiny and the second treatise of government were used to marginalize the culture of the Native Americans and justify widespread racism and misunderstanding which is still prevalent today.
-Biological warfare was deliberately used against the Native Americans by the US government during the Indian Wars.
-the US government maliciously destroyed the food source of the Indians and involuntarily sterilized Native American women in an effort to exterminate them. EXTERMINATE!
-Slavery was not just limited to African-Americans. In order to be considered a land owner in some of the colonies, you had to enslave Native Americans.
-The US government systematically removed the Native Americans from their resource-rich land and moved them to areas where life was nearly unsustainable.
-The government took an autonomous people and forced them into reliance upon the group which subjugated them in the first place.
-The government apologizes, but refuses to give back any of the land which was once taken away, unless Native American take extreme measure to take back what is rightfully theirs.

The problem is the perception of the people of this country towards the Native Americans people and vice-versa, which is hindering our ability to come to an acceptable understanding. I think, from a Community Psychology perspective, this would be an issue which should be looked at nationally. Community psychologist should focus more on the ecological perspective, we need to come to an understanding of the Native American’s losses which affect their behavior. Native American’s perception of their losses and mistrust in White people now contribute to their societal problems such as their social economic disadvantages, discrimination, poverty. This often leads to physical and/or psychological illness which prevent them from obtaining the highest functioning quality of life.

SAPR…why the mystery?

What is the SAPR? The SAPR (Student Academic Progress Report) is a document which contains all the information about all the classes that students have taken throughout their college life. It is designed as a tool to show you where you have been, and where you need to go. The mystery is in the fact that the students of the University of Arizona, seem to have problems in understanding and efficiently utilizing this tool. Let’s see where the problem lies.

From the student’s perspective, the problem is the responsibility of the school.  According to the students, the SAPR is too difficult to comprehend.  The school places the problem at the student level.  The school has provided all of the resources necessary to properly read and comprehend the SAPR.  The student advisors also feel the problem lies with the students (although technically, they are representatives of the school.)

Is the SAPR written in a foreign or overly complex language? No. The SAPR is written in plain English at a lower language level than students are expected to comprehend at the higher levels of university.

Is the SAPR hard to access? No. The SAPR is readily available through the universities website and it’s use is regularly encouraged. It is no more difficult to access than twitter.

Is the SAPR a complex product? No. It has instructions and a tutorial provided and is far simpler to understand and use than the computer you are using to access it. In fact, an inability to use and understand the SAPR should make you ineligible to drive considering the complexities and mental dexterity required for that task.

So, is the SAPR really a mystery? No. Does the problem lie with the institution, or with the students?  It seems that the blame is always pushed on the other side.  The students feel it is a social problem and blame the institution for the problem.  Maybe we should be looking at the way the institute encourages and utilizes the SAPR to find a uniformed solution to the student’s inability to comprehend. The school could add the SAPR as an addition to the placement tests, creating an entire mandatory class about it that needs to be completed before any other classes can be attended.  Or, maybe the student body needs to take a hard look at itself and determine where the problem really lies.  After all we don’t want to end up like this.

Hello world!

Welcome all to the blogging world.  This should be fun.  See you all soon.  Happy blogging…yay…:)