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Old 03-19-2019, 01:13 PM
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Default Re: Mass shooting events in relation to mental health and gender. **trigger warning *

Good post Sarah. Interesting questions.

You mentioned bullying. An important point. Many psychologists believe that girls are in fact as aggressive as boys but the difference is that angry boys are more likely to engage in physical aggression whereas angry girls engage in relational aggression (gossiping, trying to tarnish a girl's reputation, excluding her from the group etc).

You are right. The vast majority of violent crime is perpetrated by men. Why?

I think there could be a genetic factor though I think possibly what also makes a significant difference is how boys and girls are socialized. Girls at a very young age are expected to be quiet and "get along" and "be kind" etc. It is considered okay for boys to disagree and be loud and "boys will be boys." Boys are still being told not to cry or exhibit outward signs of sadness or fear.

Thought exercise:
imagine yourself at Starbucks waiting for your coffee one morning. You witness a 45 year old man in a business suit screaming and berating the barista (a 16 yr old girl) because the amount of foam on his cappuccino was wrong. Now imagine instead that the 45 yr old screaming at the girl is a woman. Did you feel the same way in each scenario? Have you ever seen that happen? I've witnessed grown men do this on more than one occasion. I have never seen a woman behave like that at a coffee shop. It's skewed I realize because I obviously have not been to every coffee place all over the world to make obs.
But you see my point. I think if a 45 yr old woman behaved that way, she would receive much harsher responses and more shock from the public than the man. I could be wrong...but if you look at something more serious....a man who killed his child versus a woman who killed her child....I find the press coverage is actually much tougher on the female perpetrator because on some level violence from men is expected.

I think it is possible that as women take on more and more dominant positions of power in society, we could start to see more violence from women. For example, there have already been some cases of sexual harassment perpetrated by women in a position of authority over a male subordinate but nobody wants to talk about it. And there are some men silently being attacked by their wives on a regular basis. My doctor recently told me about one of his male patients who has scratch scars all over his face from his wife.

I understand what folks are saying about the stigma of mental illness and not wanting the rest of us to be lumped together with violent offenders. I don't want that either. I live with depression myself. That said, I don't think we could call a 15 yr old boy mentally well right before he went to school one day, shot his peers, and then shot himself. Depression seems to be at the root of many of those school shootings (and easy access to guns).

There is something called psychotic depression. I am wondering if depressed boys are more at risk for it because they are socialized not to display or communicate their sadness, not to ask for help. To be clear, I am NOT saying that most depressed people would hurt someone else. Nor am I saying that a person living with psychotic depression would necessarily hurt someone. I personally knew one woman struggling with psychotic depression. She was not a danger to others; she was convinced that people were trying to poison her. I should also mention that with the right help she got better. Perhaps there was a man out there in the world with a similar condition who never told anyone, never got help, and went on to kill the people he was sure were trying to poison him?

There is evidence that when boys and men get depressed they often engage in externalizing behaviors whereas girls and women tend to internalize. The extreme for boys and men would be homicide. The extreme for girls and women would be suicide. These are trends of course, plenty of depressed men end their lives without a homicidal component. Is the trend genetic or is it because society normalizes girls who are sad and crying and boys who are angry and punch a wall (or someone else).

When someone commits a violent act, I believe we should be studying them and trying to figure out as much as possible about them so we can learn and grow and work on a safer society. When those individuals are deemed "evil monsters" and die by death sentence, I am not sure that helps the rest of us or future generations. Whether we like it or not, those people are human. And sometimes humans engage in heinous acts.

Serial killers. Mostly white men. Terrible abuse often in childhood though not always. Some were born as psychopaths; their brains simply aren't wired the way others are. Completely devoid of empathy. Though not all psychopaths are killers. Many are CEOs. Seriously.

An interesting study would be to compare female and male psychopaths. Is there any similarity in their aggression or violence compared with the rest of the population or are male psychopaths still much more likely to be violent than females?

Another interesting phenomenon I recently read about. Has anyone read about the history of adoption among many violent offenders? Including killers. To be clear, I am NOT saying that all adopted children grow up to be violent. Of course not. But there are some important statistics worth looking at. Some serial killers who targeted women had fantasized about meeting their biological mother and killing her...they never met her...they killed other women instead.

In short, there is much we do not know or understand about our own species. I think the answer is more objective analysis and remembering that humans are still humans regardless of what they have done...they didn't suddenly morph into a new species.

Question: given that most violent crime is committed by boys and men, shouldn't we be trying to help them rather than place all the focus for human rights and development on girls and women? Doesn't equality mean that everyone should get a fair shot in life? If some men are also being sexually harassed by women or beaten by their wives, don't we need to be able to discuss their side of it too? Some feminists would immediately shut me down for even saying that.

Last edited by SilverTrees; 03-19-2019 at 02:01 PM.
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