Friday, March 10, 2023

Physical Violence and Mental Violence - Which is Really Worse?

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My response tonight in reply to seeing this graphic...

Potentially controversial topic - I question how often we rank force (physical violence) as "worse" that the other topics listed.

In the context of autism, there is often such extreme social consequences for not masking, and the act of feeling, and being, forced into a lifetime of masking is something I'd describe as one of the most violent acts imaginable. People have, literally, lost entire childhoods and escaped into near-total dissociation because of reasons up to and including demands of compliance.

Cognitive or emotional pain of that kind seems like it's never given the same seriousness as physical pain.

Light physical pain can last a day or less. It's not okay. Not at all. It also carries emotional pain. But a single slap puts one into the red zone on this chart. While a lifetime of "should" leading to complete social death (complete burial of self) is just a rank 2 yellow level offense.

That doesn't seem correct to me.

This isn't to downplay or excuse physical harm. It is to say that I don't think we do a good job with how we think through either type of non-consensus offense (physical or mental). It says Body Safety Australia - which we need! What about maybe also having a Mind Safety Australia?

I will note that one thing alluring about critiquing physical violence is how provable it is. We can directly witness it. On camera, there's often zero doubt about it and concrete evidence. It leaves verifiable evidence (physical marks, scars, wounds, etc.). Maybe that's one reason it's seen as more serious? It's odd because humans seem like that can often recover way better and faster from light harm than they can from even light mental distress (though maybe that's just a horrific mischaracterization over what we "should" be able to recover from versus what we, in fact, are able to). I dunno and it's something to ponder.

As a final note, outside of the physical v. mental issue, I thought this graphic was absolutely wonderful and did a great job calling out the many kinds of non-consent that exist in this world. 

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