I've got a chicken & egg problem.... sort of. Basically, if conditions were better (greater socio-economic equality, abolishing poverty, improving public education), then the personal lives of individuals would improve because they would have resources they could use to become emotionally stable, mentally well, psychologically healthy, good partners in their relationships, good parents for their children. I've read about the positive improvements in developing nations where girls have been given access to education that they previously lacked. I've written about it before -- the educated girls did not marry so young and chose to have fewer children. Support from society gave these girls the power to have better lives for themselves and their family, and also empowered them to give back to their communities and continue improvements.
So, it seems pretty simple, right? Individual liberty and well-being are the direct result of socio-economic equality and the establishment of basic rights such as a right to education and basic care, like birth control. Change the system, and the people change with it.
Great, so let's change the system. The flaw with that idea is that people have to do things individually and collectively in order to change the system and everyone is so emotionally/psychologically damaged that we can't get our shit together. I honestly think I could have done a lot more to improve my community, my country, and the world if I hadn't had such a rough, crazy-making childhood. How many people would be taking better care of themselves and each other if they hadn't been raised in an emotionally and/or physically abusive environment? Abuse takes place in private. Public institutions do not seem to be able to protect people from their abusive families. So much suffering comes from this, especially since being middle or upper class will not automatically protect a person from being the victim of abuse from a family member. Children get abused at home, go to public school, where no one is able to detect their victimhood, and then they have to go home again to their private hell.
I want to change the world and bring down capitalism and all the other isms that go with it, but I also need to acknoledge my own personal, private emotional struggles. I can't give of myself until I am whole. I think this is true for so many people. How can we start a revolution when we are struggling just to live and heal and be sane?
Here is an example: women in the sex industry. The majority of them were sexually abused as children. How are they going to stand up for their rights (the right to not be raped or beaten at "work", or the right to not be sex objects) when they are already emotionally damaged, and their psychological state is influencing their choices. In fact, these women may not be mentally/emotionally well enough to be able to make choices that will promote their health and well-being. This isn't just about sex work, though. I'm saying that anyone who has been abused as a child is more likely to put up with mistreatment, abuse, and denial of their rights. They are less capable of advocating for themselves because of the prior abuse. If girls weren't abused, they would be less willing to submit to abuse in their adult lives.