This #GivingTuesday, we’d like to share a little bit about the Continuum of Harm and why we teach it as a violence prevention tool.
The Continuum of Harm demonstrates the importance of interrupting harmful beliefs, language, and behaviors before they lead to violence.
Violent and harmful behaviors often begin with a belief that another person is “less than” (less valuable, less important, etc.). If this belief is not interrupted, it can grow in strength until it becomes normalized. This is sometimes referred to as “othering” and is often the starting point of violent acts.
For example, someone tells a harmful joke that degrades women and no one addresses it. The joke teller then feels reinforced in their harmful belief so they feel empowered to escalate the behavior. Instead of telling a joke about someone’s identity, they might display aggression toward them.
Over time, this person feels more and more justified and normalized in their harmful behavior towards others, so much that it even becomes habitual. The majority of violent offenders have a history of these types of harmful behaviors and beliefs.
When young people understand the Continuum of Harm, we can teach them to create solutions by interrupting concerning behaviors and beliefs long before they lead to violence.
This is what Maine Boys to Men does every day.
With our nationally recognized Reducing Sexism & Violence Program (RSVP®), we work with students and the educators, parents, and coaches that influence them in order to reduce violence in our schools and communities.
This #GivingTuesday, please consider supporting our unique, evidence-based violence prevention programs. Thank you!