The Connecticut tragedy left most of us heartbroken. We know all too well that the violence we saw in an elementary school last week was not an isolated incident, but one of many.

 

Violence is everywhere, whether or not we experience it. It is in our shopping malls, churches, at sporting events, in schools, movie theaters, salons, workplaces, and in our homes. The circumstances that breed violence are as broad and complex as the tools used to perpetrate it. Weapons, words, and our own hands can victimize individuals of any age, gender or race.

 

Violence is changing the landscape of our world. It is slowly eroding our freedom and the simple right to feel safe. The legacy of violence must end – and to end it, we must change.

 

In the coming weeks the nation will debate about gun laws, improving access to mental health care, and shoring up security in public places. While these conversations are a good starting point for change, are they enough?

 

Family Safety Network is committed to ending violence. We help people who live with it, work with those who experience it, and teach folks of all ages how to avoid it. Most importantly we work to promote lasting social change, envisioning a world where violence and oppression against women and children no longer exist. We have joined with progressive organizations throughout the nation to take a hard look at this violence and strategize meaningful ways to eliminate it.

 

We are confident violence can be minimized when we change not just our laws and security measures, but when we begin to change within ourselves. Imagine the power of non-violent homes beginning with peaceful parenting. Consider the strength of kind words and respectful actions in daily problem solving. Think about the impact a healthy adult mentor has on guiding youth.

 

We can take action today to stop violence by addressing it within our own lives. We can learn how to remove violence from our homes, help a loved one who is experiencing it, and reach for help when challenges become unmanageable. Family Safety Network can help anyone experiencing violence. Take the first step and call our confidential hotline at 354-SAFE.

 

 Our education programs for youth, adults, parents, businesses, and community leaders help individuals learn how to recognize and respond to violence. To access these programs or ways to join our effort to eliminate violence in Teton Valley, give us a call at 354-8057 or visit us on the web at www.familysafetynetwork.info.  Hopefully we will be inspired by the Connecticut tragedy to work towards lasting change in our own lives and in our community.  

 

Susie Fenger

Family Safety Network