Wednesday, January 19

One in four young people experiences violence. It’s time to push back the closed curtains.

  • Arina Aamir (16)

    Social debater and campaign leader in Stovner Høyre

Arina Aamir (16) has participated in the public debate over time. The public debater is also active in politics.

We must dare to raise our voices for those who do not dare.

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“If Dad finds out, I’ll be beaten.” “Mom took out the sandal and aimed it at my head.” “Instead of saying hello, Uncle slapped me in the face as a greeting.”

These are things I’ve heard. These are things that have been joked about in primary and secondary school. These are things young people I know have experienced.

More normalized in some environments

New data from National Knowledge Center on Violence and Traumatic Stress (NKVTS) shows that around 25 per cent of Norwegian young people have experienced violence or abuse during the pandemic.

This corresponds to almost every fourth youth. It tells me that every fourth friend of mine may have experienced being beaten or abused.

The quotes I mentioned are common statements from young people with multicultural backgrounds. Some of them are exposed to domestic violence. Being beaten and beaten has become an integral part of an individual’s upbringing. Maybe the threshold is lower to talk about it, because it is so common and normalized in these environments.

The violence that worries me the most, however, is the violence that takes place behind closed curtains, and remains behind those curtains.

Feeling alone

We are often proud of our Norwegian values, and happy to show how “perfect” our culture is. Too often we choose to put the blame for all the violence and culture on those who have a different origin.

Simply to make it seem as if this is not practiced in Norwegian homes in any way.

It will be an impossible task to ask for help. Many young people feel alone and that no one can relate to them. Maybe they need to undermine the experiences they have had and the traumas they have been exposed to.

The problems are the same

I have also experienced that when we have talked about topics like this among friends or at school, there is always someone who is reluctant and tries to change topics. Or those who usually talk a lot can suddenly become very quiet.

Of course, it is not certain that they have been subjected to violence. But the reactions show how disgraced this topic is.

As soon as we talk about negative social control and violence, the focus is on the immigrant communities. I myself have focused a lot on them – but only doing so helps to push another important group under the rug.

Because even though the challenges are different, the problems are the same. Either the motive was honor and shame or a malicious stepfather.

Need help

The speech of the numbers is clear. Many young people need help. It’s time to push away all the closed curtains and bring out the reality. The reality many young girls and boys face, but do not dare to speak out loud about.

They do not keep quiet because they do not want help. They are silent because no one in society has dared to be their voice. No one has looked them in the eye and said that this is going well. You are not alone in this and you will get help.

Too many young people are silenced by loneliness. The feeling of being alone in it and not having anyone to relate to holds them back. But we can not just let this go on.

We must dare to raise our voices and dare to bring up a topic that all too often is only undermined. In fact, it is not just foreigners who have closed curtains.

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