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The Manifesto… Breaking the Original Spell of Violence: The perspective of Family/Child Therapist.

The Awakening Voice of the Manifesto:

“No statement, theological or otherwise, should be made that would not be credible in the presence of burning children”. This is a statement that, Rabbi Irving Greenberg made while reflecting on the deaths of million and a half Jewish Children in the holocaust.

Acts of genocide still occur in the world. It is an undeniable fact that as I am speaking to you right now, or as you are reading this script and/or watching this video, an act of violence and torture is taking place somewhere around the world that will eventually cause so many children, families and communities suffer consequences. And, today, in the United States, we are increasingly aware of other forms of attacks on so many children and young people, attacks that go on daily in our neighborhoods and even in our homes that are very traumatizing. Just imagine how it is like for children in other parts of the world.  In alarming numbers, people who have turned to be adults our society today, have in large numbers themselves been abused and exposed to violence as children. Such abuses include painful episodes such as battery, sexual abuse, and generally emotional and psychological abuse. These people eventually become adults in many dysfunctional families of today. With the effort of many concerned citizens, in this new era of technology, media coverage of victims of various forms of violence, abuse and torture have begun speaking out. Thus, I see the HPRT manifesto as a giant leap toward breaking the original spell of violence and creating a roadmap for the victims to uncover the “LOST SELF”.

I believe it is time for our voices to join the movement of this “Manifesto” and those of oppressed victims in attempts at voicing concerns and speaking out loud. We need to put our efforts together to voice our concerns that will capture the attention of every nation, government, and politician. We need to urge them to stop using violence on their own people for their personal gains. It is time to advocate for a peaceful and harmonious world for the benefit of all people, groups, and nationalities. For me, an act of violence either through torture, abuse of a child, or the elderly, is an act against God’s will.

Dr. Mollica has therefore, through this ‘Manifesto’ offered the world a unique opportunity to speak out and contribute something for the liberation of all abused and tortured individuals. The manifesto invites all of us to be conscientious about such acts that have ranged humanity for so long. The manifesto also invites us to pay attention to, and recognize the fact that:

  • More than 40 nations around the world are currently entangled in civil conflict.
  • Over 1 billion (i.e. 1/6 of our world citizens), are harmed by mass violence.
  • In many place, torture is still widely accepted.
  • Domestic violence and child abuse is still very commons.
  • Culturally sanctioned violence toward women and children still exist.
  • An individual of diverse gender and racial orientation is seen as pestilence in society.
  • The trafficking and exploitation of women and children including infants and pre‐school aged kids are becoming thriving multibillion dollar industry.
  • The commercial exploitation of youth for child labor and the economic oppression of the poor remains a norm for many societies across the world.
  • The planet itself which gave birth to all life forms is being selfishly destroyed. (Ref. extracted from- Manifesto: seeing the reality clearly).

All abused individuals both adults and the little children and not so little ones who are now being abused and those children and adults who carry the scars of childhood abuse all too often pass them on to the next generations. This Manifesto is a call to action to any individual who cares about human life and would like to do something about violence in the world. Violence affects and disturbs all of us directly or indirectly. Therefore, we all share responsibility and must feel compelled to take action and do something against those that are using violence and killing and/or destroying millions of lives every day around the world.

Oftentimes, many individuals that are victimized by violence see themselves as victims, thereby carrying the label of ‘victim’ as their identity. We need to see these individuals as normal human beings without labels. We need to recognize the strength in them by giving them empathy and sharing their journey out of violence. We do not need to feel sorry for them but rather have respect and treat them with dignity. Such will harness their resilience and spring them into becoming survivors with great deal of strengths and voices.

The problems-Uncovering Our Lost Self

This great Manifesto is aimed at reducing the violence in our world and healing those that are wounded and traumatized. I believe we can’t afford to not look at this issue through the lens of the family system and parent-child dynamics to understand why there is so much violent in world and engage them in the process to find healing. We all know a good foundational family system in a nation is the key to success of any society. As a marriage and family counselor/therapist, and an experienced mental health clinician, it is my ardent belief that each individual and family has a unique way to stop violence at domestic level.

For many in the United States today, we see regular news reports of accounts of serious cases of child abuse of all forms. Television talk shows regularly feature interviews with victims of child abuse and violence, some of whom have themselves become abusing and violent parents. We hear of adults who throw children out windows, beat them to death, plunge them into scalding water, abandon them in trash containers, use them for their own sexual gratification, or exploit them sexually for financial gain. We are all too conscious of news accounts of child murder or cases of abuse and neglects that have led to the deaths of children.

Maybe many people are less conscious of the devastating effects of psychological or emotional abuse, such as the emotional wounds inflicted by adults who shame and humiliate children and young people and tell them that they are stupid, maladroit, lazy, wicked, good for nothing, worthless, cannot do anything right, or will never amount to anything. We are just beginning to develop a consciousness about systematic attacks on the self-esteem of many children. We can only guess at the numbers of children and young people who are victims of various forms of abuse.

At the same time as we are becoming more conscious of child abuse, our society appears superficially to be child-centered. Consumer goods aimed at children, parenthood are abundant. Many rich and poor alike see their children as objects to be controlled and modeled into obedient, respectful children, and later into successful, prosperous citizens. Some parents begin to plan for their children’s academic careers at birth, and many seem to value academic achievements more highly than any other aspects of childhood. Therefore, amid the high commercialization of goods to children, exhibiting of children, etc, how much do we adults really care about the children themselves? Imagine how many children are exposed to violent games and movies? How are we as adults ready to tackle all these social vices against children?

A Healing Path – Discovering Our True Selves

Just as the problems of racism or sexism or poverty does not reside in the person who is black or female or economically disadvantaged, so does the concerns echoed in this manifesto and the pursuit for resolutions to heal this violent world of ours today. The problem was not created by one individual and does not reside in one person to resolve it. The issue of violence is an adult-child problem and particular a problem stemming from the heart, mind and soul. The problem affects how we treat, care, perceive, respect, and communicate with all individuals, as well as how we raise, educate, and promote good values for our children.

Violence is a cancer that kills in the absence of proper treatment. Also, violence is the pollution of our human race and environment. Like much of the poison in the air we breathe, violence sometime can be visible and invisible. Nevertheless, adopting a silent attitude in the face of great violence means that our behavior toward the smaller, weaker, needier person is different from the way we would behave toward the same person if she or he were as rich and famous and strong, powerful as we are. We often say, “Stop acting like a child!” This is an expression of condescension. But when we recall the words of Jesus telling us the opposite: “Be a child”, then we have an attitude of a child, and act like one. I would therefore urge you to unleash from the depth of your heart the love for all people, and care for them, to even strangers, and give a smile to everyone. Give a hug of nonviolence, love, compassion and forgiveness; a hug that heals.

The Willingness to Risk and Gain

In conclusion, therefore, I wish to reiterate the importance of voicing concern for millions of silent victims of violence across the world. Every act of violent is also an abuse of power, and every abuse of power means contempt for the less powerful. Therefore, you may lose faith or may think this is an unachievable movement. But, as believer I remember that the bible said, “Jesus said to the rich young man’s plight, with men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God”. Mk. 10:27). The problem, as Jesus reminds us, is that we lack faith and vision. Therefore, it will take courage to voice your opinions and comments on this manifesto on behalf of millions of victims of violent crimes, torture and abuse. Have faith in this “manifesto” and dream of a world free of violence, tyranny, dictatorship, torture and abuse, where we all can serve as healers and where healing spirits reign.

References:

  1. Bradshaw, E. John.(1933).Bradshaw on: The Family: Revolutionary way on the Family. Deerfield Beach, Fl: Health Communications. Inc.
  2. Heft, L. James. (2004). Beyond Violence: Religious Sources of Social Transformation in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. FordHam University Press. Bronx, NY.
  3. Pais, Janet.( 1991).Suffer The Children: A theology of Liberation by a Victim Of child Abuse. Paulis Press. Mahwah, NJ.
  4. St. Amour, Abel. (2013). Beyond the Mission: A Guide for Pastoral Counselors on Traumatic Stress in Missionary Relief Workers. CrossBooks. Bloomington, IN.
  5. Webb, N.B. (2006). (Ed.). Working with traumatized youth in child welfare. New York: Guilford Press.
  6. Webb, N.B. (2004). (Ed.). Mass trauma and violence. New York: Guilford Press. Webb, N.B. (2001). (Ed.). Culturally diverse parent child and family relationships. New York: Columbia

(c) Rev. Dr. Abel St. Amour, MA. MS., Th.M., PhD. TF-CBT., BCPC,

Associate Adjunct Professor, School Of Medicine & Pharmacology – State University of Haiti.

Senior Mental Health Consultant to the Ministry of Health/MSPP-Haiti

National Executive Director, Rebati Santé Mentale, Inc.

Founded/President, Apoxee International Ministries, Inc.

Author: Beyond the Mission: A Guide for Pastoral Counselors on Traumatic Stress in Missionary Relief Workers.

Send your Manifesto response to hprtmanifesto@gmail.com

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