ALCOHOL DOES NOT CAUSE VIOLENCE.
There is a common media myth in this country that likes to make alcohol out to be this pernicious drug turning good natured middle class boys into ruffians. It blames assaults in licensed venues on “alcohol fuelled rage”. This lie – and it is a lie – is being exploited by politicians to justify further regulation and limits on licensed venues. However, it is based on a simplification of research on the issue. Don’t get me wrong, there is most certainly a correlation between violence and alcohol, but this correlation speaks of a very complicated relationship. Yes, limitations on venues will reduce violence, but they will be doing so by limiting choice, not by addressing the heart of the problem. Hopefully below will make it clear what I mean.
Alcohol has multiple affects on the brain which are unique for each individual. It is often helpful to generalise these effects by saying alcohol lowers inhibition so that we reveal aspects of our personality which may not otherwise be expressed. Furthermore, for a very small minority there is evidence to suggest alcohol affects mood regulation.
But lets get this straight: alcohol does not cause a certain predisposition to violence. It increases the chance for poor aspects of some personality traits to be more evident and – for a small minority -aggravates problems with the regulation of mood. Whether or not alcohol will lead to violence is mediated by complex relationships between personality, expectancy, situational and sociocultural factors For most us alcohol and violence are unrelated.
Some would prefer to view alcohol as an outside force which changes you. I’m sure many of us have had a Jekyll and Hyde like transformation whilst having a drink. However, this kind of change is actually a realisation of two facts of the brain that neither of us is entirely comfortable with. Firstly, that what we are not conscious of most of who “we” are . Secondly, that we can contain many contradictory personalities which are mediated by inhibitory controls.
But you see, there is always a choice involved in these matters. If you know that alcohol affects your mood or that it reveals anti-social aspects of your personality, there’s a simple solution: don’t drink. This is the message that politicians need to make clear. The reasons for violence are not because of venues, they are not because of alcohol, they are because of flaws in personality and -for a small minority- vulnerabilities in the brain.
It is an individual responsibility to stop drinking if it is a trigger for violence. We should no longer perpetuate this incorrect idea that the government limiting choice and regulating venues is somehow solving the problem of violence in pubs and clubs, it is hiding it.
It was quite difficult to find academic articles on this matter which don’t focus solely on teenagers or domestic violence, these cases tend to have quite unique situational factors as to why they occur.
The International Centre of Alcohol Policy has a good overview of current research on alcohol use and violence. [http://www.icap.org/portals/0/download/all_pdfs/Other_Publications/Violence_in_Perspective.pdf]
The Australian Institute of Criminology has a report on key issues of alcohol related violence found here. In regard to the interaction between alcohol and violence the reports says:
Research suggests that the association between alcohol and aggression is the result of a complex interaction of a number of variables, including:
- the pharmacological effects of alcohol on the cognitive, affective or behavioural functioning of the drinker which can lead to increased risk-taking, reduced anxiety regarding possible sanctions for their behaviour, heightened emotionality, impulsive behaviour, ‘liquid courage’, a distorted interpretation of events and an inability to resolve incidents verbally
- individual characteristics including age, gender, personality traits, predisposition to aggression, deviant attitudes and expectations of the drinker about the effects of alcohol and their behaviour while intoxicated
-effects of the drinking environment including situational factors such as crowding, permissiveness of violent behaviour, the management of licensed premises and the role and behaviour of venue staff (including managers and security)
-societal attitudes and values, including a culture of drinking to deliberately become intoxicated, using alcohol as an excuse for behaviour not normally condoned and for holding individuals less responsible for their actions (Graham et al 2006; 1998)
Anonymous said: Well, add this thought to that circuit board: there is literally no one on this planet I am more jealous of than your boyfriend. Seriously. You are such a beautiful person, inside and out. You would make life worthwhile for me. You, Darby; YOU. I have complete faith that you will find the peace you want, and still live the life you truly deserve. You're a magnificent person with an unbelievably tremendous soul. GOD, I've never wanted to hug someone this badly!!!
Your life is worthwhile already, dear.
DOn’t be jealous of him, he is stuck with me! And anyone that knows about me knows that i’ll cry on the phone pretty much every night and i’m always sick and I am annoying.
I agree with Darby on the first part anon.
On the later, I am the luckiest guy in the world. You are right anon, Darby is beautiful in absolutely every respect.
I LOVE YOU DARBY! :-)
I have a sneaking suspicion that the Green’s campaign against the university funding cuts proposed by Labor, #Dumbcuts, is designed to look, at first glance, a lot like ‘dumbcunts’.
At least, it’s caught me off guard a few times.
Are you sure it is the Greens? Isn’t it an NUS and NTEU joint campaign?
Valentines Day letter …
A corny piece I wrote by hand sometime ago, intending to ask this guy if he would be my Valentine. I had intended to surprise him with it by sending it to him tucked in a bunch of roses …
To my dearest and most favourite […],
(I don’t know if it is too soon to ask, but oh well! I’m going to ask you anyway).
So, I just had to ask, as it is that time of the year, when January’s done and we’re past Christmas cheer, when everywhere starts to look pretty in red, and out minds turn from ‘new year’ to romance instead.
Of course I couldn’t just ask you, straight up out of the blue, all blunt like, not corny, what good would that do??
I feel if I’d asked you, in any other way, it would just be boring, like a dull sort of grey.
But I won’t waste too much of your sweet golden time, all ‘cause I decided to ask you in rhyme, if you would like to be my Valentine.
Will you be my Valentine […] ??