The Atlantic Reports: “Violence is Contagious”

A thought provoking article in October’s edition of The Atlantic explores cycles of violence and concludes, “what goes around really does come around.” Writer Rebecca Rosen makes a strong case that no matter the mode of transmission, violence “seems to spread like [a disease].”

Supporting her work, Rosen cites these important studies:

  • Findings from a June 2013 study on how conflict has affected adolescents in southern Israel concluded that kids exposed to violence such a rocket attacks or terrorism were more likely to commit their own acts of violence later on.
  • More than a decade ago, the National Institute of Justice released a national brief, “An Update on the ‘Cycle of Violence’” which found that children who are the victims of violence (such as abuse or neglect) are 30 percent more likely to become perpetrators of violence, themselves, by the time they reach their thirties, than peers who do not have such experience.

Rosen concludes her story on violence as a contagion by asking this provocative question: “Could we one day develop an effective vaccine?”

We think so. When we recognize violence as a contagious or an epidemic disease it empowers us to treat and prevent it with specific epidemic control methods. Doing this makes it possible for us to be much more effective in reducing the epidemic of violence.

>>Learn how Cure Violence is trying to cure violence:

>>Read “Violence is Contagious

Additional Reading:

>>Read: “Q: What if We Treat Violence Like an Epidemic Disease? A: We Can Put Violence in the Past!