Compassion has its limits. How not to get exhausted from the discussions that we prefer not to lead

Over the past year, domestic and sexual violence have been reported in several publicized cases. Many appreciate this and want this trend to continue. Just a thicket and bigger drops! But can there be too many texts on a serious subject that opens up for the first time to many? What feelings can increased awareness of negative social phenomena evoke and how should we address them?

The past year has seemed, and we hope, to have been a breakthrough in terms of media coverage of issues related to domestic and sexual violence. The incidence of these types of violence is still underestimated in our country, and above all – a large part of society is misunderstood and the whole issue is shrouded in myths, stereotypes and prejudices. Over the past year, several high-profile cases have shown many characteristics of domestic and sexual violence, explaining the background and answering frequently asked questions, which are often not due to ill will, but only lack of information and misunderstanding.

One of the most discussed cases was the most discussed in the run-up to the International Day against Violence against Women, which was another occasion for texts and educational events in this area. At one time – at least the author of this text seems – domestic and sexual violence was everywhere. Leckom might have thought, “Yes, this kind of violence is terrible. Yes, I sympathize with the victims. I want to help them and prevent such violence. I also know that children in Africa are dying of starvation or easily preventable diseases, and that people around the world are dying in wars and other armed conflicts – and I can’t hear that every day. “in which people are already suffering?

Exhaustion due to frustration and helplessness

Many people appreciate that we are finally talking more and more about domestic and sexual violence. They have been through something themselves and only see how they are not alone and they feel some satisfaction. Some are experiencing this right now and it helps them to become aware of their situation and consider a solution. Someone has a victim in their neighborhood or someone confides in them for the first time. And someone sees it as a burning issue without having a personal connection to the subject: he just cares about others, even strangers.

But there can also be negative experiences in the flood of increasingly difficult information, texts and stories. One is the accumulated mixture of frustration, fatigue, exhaustion, anger and helplessness that comes with dealing with other people’s serious problems and afflictions – while feeling that nothing has changed for years. . These problems persist and sometimes seem to get worse. (There is a term for a specific form of frustration feminist fatigue, an exhaustion of constantly explaining the foundations of feminist theory, while the people around them still have a say in women hating men). When toxicity builds up both from the subject itself and from environmental reactions, it is easy to wear it down.

This is where actors in the aid professions – those in social work, education, health, security, justice and the voluntary sector – active, sensitive, committed and truly helpful – express their endless admiration. However, helping victims and preventing these types of violence is a profession, they choose it voluntarily. And the others ? How does the increase in information on a difficult topic affect an ordinary person who has not experienced anything like this and does not even need to support the victim among his relatives? Can the “power” of such writing be counterproductive?

Human compassion has its limits

There is, of course, a significant group that is negatively fixated on the subject in advance: The “MeToo” are hysterics who want to ruin careers. Sluts painted in miniskirts are to blame. Sensitive people complain that their boss gets down on their knees, and at the same time they help each other in their careers. Jihad is accused of rape by the jihadists, even if the man just holds the door for them. She kind of provoked him anyway. Well, his nerves went a little. For many people, reporting on domestic and sexual violence goes hand in hand with “the destruction of traditional values ​​and a hyper-correct moment when nothing can be said”. Such people are annoyed that the world is not the same as when these things were not visible (read: a woman endured something and did not whistle). It’s really not easy to have a positive effect on these people. The question is whether this is the case and whether the effort is worth making a profit.

We all have a limited amount of energy and resources in our lives and we cannot or do not want to expend them on solving all the problems and pains in the world. When we swallow, we can easily run out of it – and we won’t help anyone at all.

However, a negative response can also be seen in people who have goodwill and who enter the public debate with benevolence and an open mind. As psychologist Paul Slovic explains, the human conception of alien suffering has its natural mechanisms and understandable limits. The human mind is not determined to think in large numbers and in abstract terms. Therefore, we are much more affected by an individual story from time to time (when dialing in for a difficult operation or expensive aids for a specific sick child) than a stream of statistics on victims of domestic and sexual violence and a criticism of how the system does not work. With the increase in the number of victims, our empathy and our willingness to help diminish. Then, when we often hear about a topic and perceive our helplessness, pain, and frustration, numbness, numbness, loss of interest, and even annoyance can be a completely natural and understandable reaction. . In another article, we can say to ourselves: “More sexual harassment? Yes, I know, it’s stupid, but that’s enough, I can’t help it!”

Following this, psychologists identified another psychological phenomenon – feelings of ineffectiveness and ineffectiveness. It feels like if we can’t solve the whole problem and help everyone involved, there’s no point in doing anything, so we’re going to withdraw instead of any activity. The warm feeling that we have helped someone or done a small thing can mask the negative feelings of many other people that we are not helping and that our little activity is not systemically solving the thing. Paul Slovic sees this as a false impression that should be consciously combated: repeating that “even a partial solution can save lives” and that each of our activities can contribute to this. Only if we do nothing at all will we not change anything.

“That’s fine – and what about me?”

Domestic and sexual violence is a problem. Bigger than most people ever imagined. And also what she used to hear. That may change now. For example, in waves, with other cases or legislation being discussed. And it is quite possible that we have mixed, complex and purely negative feelings about it. Someone is angry and frustrated that this has happened (repeatedly) and hasn’t improved in many years. Someone mistrusts, doubts, shames and denies, because it disrupts their original ideas about the world. Someone turns his anger on the victims, because if they were silent, there would be no need to face something unpleasant and deal with it. Some may have the greatest willingness to inform and help, but after a while he will feel overwhelmed, to which his brain will quite naturally react with numbness and apathy.

Whether a person has been around for decades or is new to them, it’s important to be in touch with their emotions and experiences and think about how to respond to the situation. We all have a limited amount of energy and resources in our lives and we cannot or do not want to expend them on solving all the problems and pains in the world. When we swallow, we can easily run out of it – and we won’t help anyone at all. So it’s good to take care of your mental health and your media income so that, in total, we have strength to help others. It is normal not to read everything, not to experiment, to disconnect from time to time.

It is important to approach difficult subjects, such as domestic and sexual violence, with caution – to distribute your forces carefully and keep your sanity, but on the other hand not to put your head in the sand in front of them , because we are uncomfortable listening to them. Whenever I try to understand people who ignore, minimize or even swear about these types of violence that they’re tired of dealing with them all the time, the thought comes to mind: “Are you tired of reading about domestic and sexual violence? So imagine how tired people who experience it are. »

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