Ending Intimate and International Violence
"The link between intimate violence in the home and the international violence of terrorism and war is as tightly bound together as the fingers of a clenched fist." - Riane Eisler
Violence, it seems, has become a worldwide epidemic. We are bombarded by stories of inhumanity and violence daily by the media. We are aghast at stories of children shooting children in the US, women being stoned for showing an arm in the Middle East and even genocide the world over. Is this who human beings are? Are we doomed to a future of violence and given our technological capabilities, a brutal and cataclysmic end?
The answer is no. Anger and violence may be written into our genetic code, but so are compassion, empathy and caring. We have a choice, both personally and globally.
The challenge we face in creating the peaceful and compassionate world we want is to understand and rid ourselves of the mechanisms and systems that hold violence in place.
Riane Eisler, nearly a victim of Nazi genocide as a child, has spent a life time studying the question of man’s inhumanity to man, and woman. Her multidisciplinary approach has led her to an understanding of the social systems that create and maintain cultures of violence. Looking at a larger picture made it possible to see patterns or connections that were not visible before. Underlying the many differences in societies, both cross-culturally and through human history, are two basic social configurations, the dominator model and the partnership model.
In societies adhering closely to the dominator model, we find top-down authoritarianism (strong-man rule), the subordination of one half of humanity to the other, and a high degree of institutionalized or built-in violence, whether in the form of wife and child beating or in the form of warfare. Moving toward the partnership side of the spectrum we see a more democratic organization, economically as well as politically. Both halves of humanity are equally valued, and stereotypically feminine values such as caring and nonviolence (which are considered "unmanly" in the dominator model) are highly regarded, whether they are embodied in women or men. We also see a less violent way of living. (We see this most highly developed today in the Scandinavian world, but there are trends in this direction worldwide.)
While changing society might seem beyond the reach of one concerned individual, remember that society is a human invention partly inherited from our dominator past and partly built on the sum of individual relationships. Not only can you change your own relationships in a partnership direction, your voice for change can be as loud as you choose it to be.
The main determination for whether a society adheres primarily to a dominator or partnership model is intimate relationships. It is in the family that we first learn either respect and caring for others or that violence and fear can get us what we want. It is between parents and children that either domination or partnership are passed to the next generation. It is for this reason that CPS has become one of the first sponsors of Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence (SAIV). We invite you to be come a member and add your voice to this important stepping stone.
For more information about how you can help, go to SAIV
More on Ending Violence
Dr. Eisler has written extensively on the subject of violence in our society and our relationships. All of her books are concerned with positive changes to our selves and our society to create the peaceful and sustainable world we want.
For more information on our selection of books, visit our Library.
Building Foundations for Cultures of Peace
by Riane Eisler, 2009
Women's Issues Key to Peace
by Riane Eisler, 2009
Dark Underbelly of the World's Most 'Peaceful' Countries
by Riane Eisler in The Christian Science Monitor, July 26, 2007
Spare the Rod: Challenging Traditions of Violence
by Riane Eisler in Yes Magazine, Winter 2005
Pragmatopia: Revisioning Human Possibilities
by Riane Eisler, TIKKUN, 19.6, Nov/Dec 2004
Nurture, Nature and Caring: We are not Prisoners of our Genes
by Riane Eisler and Daniel S. Levine, Brain and Mind 3, 2002
by Riane Eisler, adapted from The Power of Partnership: Seven Relationships That Will Change Your Life (2002).
The School for Violence: A conversation with Riane Eisler
Interview with Riane Eisler by Helen Knode in LA Weekly, 23.45, September 28-October 4, 2001
Postwar Recommendations for Afghanistan Based on Equal Rights
by Riane Eisler for WIN NEWS, Fran P. Hosken, editor
A Challenge for Human Rights: What We Can Do
by Riane Eisler for WIN NEWS, 19-4, Autumn 1993
Human Rights and Violence: Integrating the Private and Public Spheres
by Riane Eisler, 1995