Abusers usually assume too many things. These assumptions besides other acquired concepts (things learned, observed, or experienced) form the basis of mental images called schemas. All humans including abusers like family members, cops, and officials use these schemas to make decisions. For instance, if you see that some cops are reacting too harshly when they see a Muslim or an African, then you may assume that they have underlying mental concepts that tell them that they may execute such behaviour and get away with it. Such abusive concepts and assumptions are usually reinforced by society through various types of behaviors such as choosing not to protest or backing out from befriending a victim of abuse.
After reading about various types of abuse including women abuse, my neurons started firing again. I recalled learning about “Associative Networks” in one of my introductory psychology books, Psychology: Frontiers and Application by Passer et al. (2008)—this concept is briefly mentioned in this website.
Memory can be represented as a network of nodes where each node represents a unit of information. When an abuser thinks of a concept like “hit now”, each related node starts firing and keeps firing until the node that will trigger their action fires. So if someone says “rape this girl now”, the node that says “be brutal”, “okay to kill”, or “no one knows or cares” somehow starts firing as well. I don’t wonder too much as to why the female gender faces so much abuse. Even politicians and mainstream media are complicit in conducting such atrocities.
Hence, my conclusions are simple and straightforward. To stop abuse, you need to keep linking the concepts “you cannot do so” or “you will be punished for doing something of this sort” with the concept of abuse. This way when an abuser chooses to abuse, the concepts (nodes) about why abusing someone is not a good idea would start firing as well. Providing education, promoting awareness through lobbying, and using supportive networks all work in sync to achieve this.
Resource: Alyssa Alcorn and Henry S. Thompson, “Inf1-CG Memory 3: Recall, semantic memory, and forgetting”.
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