By Nicholas Perugini, Trending Writer
The 1950s is seen as the Golden Age of the modern American family. The happy homes of the Cleaver family from “Leave it to Beaver” and the Ricardo household from “I Love Lucy” are how we picture what life was like back then. Sadly, this image is the opposite from the truth. The 1950s were a time of common domestic violence. A whole generation of boys where sent to war in 1941. They came back as broken and war torn men in 1945. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and alcoholism were present among many homes during this time. In fact, PTSD was not a diagnosable disease until 1980. This means for a forty year span soldiers came home from and brought this stress to their family.
Domestic abuse left a mark on the kids, living in these households. Society did not understand how to properly treat mental trauma. Today, kids are encouraged to meet with councilors to discuss their problems. Sixty years ago, student councilors did not do much. During the 1950s and 60s there were now a whole generation of children, being raised in violent households with no place to output their emotions in a healthy manner. A common means for kids to release some of their built up trauma was through violence. Especially by seeing their fathers use violence to deal with problems, this trend set the wrong example and was passed down.
Students, living in these abusive households, sometimes would lash out at their peers as a coping mechanism. Bullying gave them the power that was taken away from them at home. Anyone could become the bully or the bullied. Students grouped together to avoid bullying. School became an unwelcoming and fearful place.
The Vietnam War did not help the situation either. Unfortunately, the U.S. government still did not know the long term effects that PTSD would bring. Though less American troops served in the Vietnam War compared to World War II, it still had overwhelming effects on not only American households, but the nation as a whole. The violence continued into the 1970s and 80s.
Though abuse often encouraged bullying, some reacted differently from it. It caused people to be reserved or ironically become kind.
This type of bullying was more of a tragedy than anything else. Sadly, we as a society have covered it up and played it off as a simple trope for television, to hide the dark truth of what was supposed to be a “Golden Age”. Bullying has evolved though and now it is up to us to make sure that the same mistakes of the past do not repeat themselves.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 3rd print edition.
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