Leadership: Defining the Violence Problem.



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Photos courtesy of Melanie Wasser, Thom Masat, Samantha Sophia, Sydney Sims, Natalie Chaney and Rawpixel on Unsplash.

Leadership recognizes that within the key to your success lies the seed to your greatest pain, and so it takes the lead at defining the problem.

 Imagine a mother of 5 and a grandmother of 9 who continues to rise in political leadership fueled by her obsession to preserve a future for her grandchildren – Nancy Pelosi.  Imagine a child star who at 15 years releases a platinum album and is lured into an illegal marriage by a known child predator – Aaliyah.  Imagine a young girl driven by a love for family and friends to find a cure for scleroderma which leads her to Johns Hopkins University Hospital, only to be brought home in ashes to be fondly remembered – Nadia Morgan.

 The advent of a new year presents many opportunities for growth and achievement.  But, good leaders cannot ignore defining the problems which may derail the success of those they lead.  As we celebrate, we must also acknowledge the strange, oppressive air that surrounds us by virtue of many we know.  So, I consciously acknowledge the violence, harassment, abuse and more that stalks many men and women as they attempt to lead productive lives.

Consider just a few of the statistics below obtained from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

  1. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
  2. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, etc.
  3. 19.3 million women and 5.1 million men in the United States have been stalked in their lifetime. 60.8% of female stalking victims and 43.5% men reported being stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
  4. Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior (https://ncadv.org/statistics).

In Jamaica, data from UN Women reports the incidence of violence against women as follows:

  1. Lifetime Physical and/or Sexual Intimate Partner Violence : 27.8 %
  2. Physical and/or Sexual Intimate Partner Violence in the last 12 months : 7 %
  3. Lifetime Non-Partner Sexual Violence : 23 % 
  4. Child Marriage : 8 % (http://evaw-global-database.unwomen.org/fr/countries/americas/jamaica).

These issues of violence are coming to work!!!

The fears that result from violent crimes, sexual assault, abuse, violence and shaming against women are real – cutting them off from family and friends, reducing their lives to little more than shadowy robots of their former selves.  Extreme examples can be found among the victims of R. Kelly highlighted in the recently aired Lifetime docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly (http://time.com/5491926/surviving-r-kelly-review/).  

 The survivors and the producers of the show reveal that success is truly determined by what the individual has to overcome and the effort that it takes to win.  It also reveals how leadership emerges of necessity among the parents who refuse to quit searching for their daughters, and the survivors who have been rehabilitated and who are now activists in this space.  The growing movement of #MuteRKelly (https://www.muterkelly.org/) is making inroads as his shows have been cancelled in major cities.  

As leaders, we must recognize the benefit and the power of collective action to exert influence in challenging circumstances.  In time, collective action creates a new entity which can survive on its own because of the propelling force of sisterhood/brotherhood.

 Leaders of 2019 must be skillful at defining the problem in the room that is challenging the success of those we lead.  Leaders must develop the tactfulness of speaking clearly about the problem, managing its effects, and presenting achievable goals for the team.  As a leader, we must understand that the team that we lead is made up of men and women who are victims of violence, abuse, harassment, and shaming.  

So, we must take the lead to equip ourselves with relevant knowledge.  I am starting this month.  Will you join me?   Not only will I define the problem, but I will also suggest antidotes to this psychological poison threatening our leadership.

 The first successful strategy is this: Surround yourself with others armed with knowledge and committed to your success.

 Until the next installment on this topic, check out The Courage to be Free and more at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD and https://youtu.be/zfPWaPCJ0vE .

rawpixel-651373-unsplashPhoto courtesy of Rawpixel on Unsplash.


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