The following blog post is an extract of my most recent 'encountering conflict' essay. I believe it addresses 'conflict' from a new perspective. When you think of conflict, what images, words or phrases pop into your head? Are they in relation to war and its tragic consequences, because most often this is what is thought about when we hear the word 'conflict'. However, conflict is more than war; it is about tension between two parties bringing ordinary people into a private battle.
The violent abuse that is often going unnoticed in everyday homes is causing struggle between powerful and powerless figures. Luke Batty, 11 years old, was killed by someone he loved, when he was brutally murdered in a cricket net. Luke Batty died as an innocent victim of the tension that was between his mother and father. His murder was seen as the result of an act of revenge, by Luke’s father towards his ex-wife. Luke was an ordinary naïve eleven year old boy that was tragically caught up in the conflict between his parents. Rosemary Batty will continue to face her constant battle to live with the grief for her young son every day. She was an average woman who became involved with a violent man and as a result, her son was caught up in a tragic conflict. However, a positive result has come from her son’s death for many others. The Luke Batty Foundation has continued to live out his legacy. This positive outcome aims to “raise community awareness” and pressure “government organisations” until family violence statistics “dramatically reduce”. Luke Batty’s tragic death has been one of the most high profile cases of domestic violence. His death was tragic because he was an innocent boy caught up in the tension of his parents’ personal disputes. This shows that not all conflicts are about loss, some may allow people change their lives and others in a positive way.
Internal conflicts of an individual, like Luke Batty’s father can arise from an unstable state of mind that affects one or more functions of the mind. This in turn can interfere with a person’s thoughts, emotions and behaviours. On the 28th April 1996, Thirty-five average people became the innocent victims of the third deadliest shooting by a single gunman in history. This has become known as the Port Arthur Massacre. Twenty people managed to survive the horrific act, however, the consequence of witnessing many people die around them has had great psychological affects in their future life. Three innocent victims, including two children, Alanna and Madison were never able to fulfil their full potential due to having their lives cut short at the hands of a mass murder. As a result the Alanna and Madison foundation was set up in order to continue the legacy of the two children and to help others who have suffered “from violence or sudden loss”. Martin Bryant was also considered to be mentally unstable at the time of the massacre, suffering from Asperger Syndrome. This mental battle with not being able to feel remorse or sorrow took the lives of so many, and continues to affect the country. Internal conflict can break a person and result in the tension being inflicted on other people. In some cases such as the Port Authur Massacre, ordinary people’s lives who were simply enjoying their day, were caught up in the battle of in persons mind.