Policy Brief Discussion 2: Trauma and Resilience

How do we combat the normalization of violence?

When we grapple with the normalization of violence, we know that often people's diminished sense of the seriousness of harm (and therefore their willingness to commit it) follows their experience of surviving it.That surviving violence often makes people take it less seriously be surprising to some. But when we think about masculinity, about whose victimization we are socialized to value, and about adolescent development, it makes sense. As a society, we do not always recognize and take seriously the pain, fear, and anxiety experienced by certain people when they are harmed —particularly people in low income communities, people of color, and young men.

In conversations with participants at Common Justice, we have come to believe that this coping strategy of minimization, as much as any other factor, contributes to the normalization of harm and cycles of violence, and that transforming that response will require not only a shift on the part of our participants and service providers, but a paradigmatic shift in our culture as a whole.