VIOLENCE, regardless of who the perpetrators are, should never be tolerated because it infringes on the rights of victims. The vice is a growing trend in the communities, with some people choosing violence over dialogue as a way of resolving their grievances. Just last Thursday, a video on social media showed how a senior civil servant in Kasama was mercilessly attacked in her office for allegedly failing to release youth empowerment funds. Council police who attempted to protect the officer were also manhandled by the violent group. As if that was not enough, on Saturday Nkana and Red Arrows football fans clashed violently at Lusaka’s Nkoloma Stadium after the former lost 3-0 in a FAZ Super League fixture. These are not the only incidents revealing the level of intolerance in the country; there are many more, sadly with some victims being maimed while others have lost their lives. The increase of cases is an indication that violence has permeated all corners of society and children have not been spared from the vice. Oftentimes they are victims, though they can also be instigators. Children should be protected from all forms of violence if they are to grow up as law-abiding citizens because, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), violence by young people is one of the most visible forms of the vice.
Fatal and non-fatal acts of violence involving young people have often contributed to premature death, injury and disability. When this happens, it has devastating effects not only on the victims but families too, and their communities are equally affected. Studies have established a close link between youth violence and other forms of violence. Young people who are violent are likely to commit a range of crimes and they usually display undesirable social and psychological behaviours. One of the reasons young people tend to express violent or aggressive tendencies has a lot to do with the environment from which they are brought up. For some children, the home environment is more like a war zone instead of a safe space that is critical in the development process of children. it is believed that children who are exposed to harsh punishment as a form of parental control and discipline are likely to be violent as they get older because that is the only treatment they were exposed to. For some people, the violence they exhibit stems from the lack of a parental bond as children due to absent parents. When children are separated from their parents for whatever reasons, there is always a sense of abandonment on the part of children which can sometimes be a source of anger, leading to violent behaviour. Another reason for violence could be related to social, political and cultural factors where children or young people involve themselves in criminal gangs. It is through such interactions that children and young people get exposed to alcohol or drugs, thereby increasing the possibility of youth violence. This could have been the main reason for the unfortunate incident in Kasama. To protect children from becoming victims or perpetrators of violence, it is important to instil in them positive ways of resolving conflicts instead of resorting to violence, which sometimes can have disastrous consequences. This is possible by initiating interventions in the home and school settings because these two spaces are the primary sources of socialisation in children where they learn the art of interacting with others. If possible, specially tailored programmes could be introduced to assist children and young people on how to manage anger, resolve conflict and to teach them essential social skills that will enable them to use diplomatic means to deal with their problems instead of always resorting to violence. Children and young people can be taught how to effectively communicate and compromise because these are acceptable options to resolving issues instead of using violence. There should be zero tolerance to violence. If left uncontrolled, it can fundamentally destroy the country and its moral fabric. Covid-19 is real; stay at home and keep safe! Remember, children are our future. Until next week, take care.
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