Stemler: We can reduce violence by reducing exposure at home

Salinas Californian article: Breaking the cycle of violence where it startsThe Salinas Californian continues its series of articles about the For Our Future campaign, with an interview with Kim Stemler of First 5 Monterey County, by Sonja Koehler.

Kim and Sonja are both active members of the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace.

In the interview, Kim explains how early exposure to violence -- whether physical or emotional -- can lead to serious emotional troubles, including the likelihood that a child will grow up to commit more violence.


A young child walks up to a playmate and, for no apparent reason, hits her. Another disrupts his class because he can’t seem to sit still. Another sucks her thumb for years beyond infancy.

Why? Some might say the hitter is just a bad kid, the fidgeter is simply disobedient, or the thumb-sucker is just “being a baby.”

But the real explanation may not be so easy: These behaviors can be signs that a child has been exposed to physical or emotional violence. If not addressed, the trauma of such exposure can last a lifetime — including making it more likely the child will get involved with gangs. [More...]

Salinas Californian
News Item Publication Date: 
Saturday, December 22, 2012