The Dispute of the Century

Álvaro Pérez de Aguado DuránApril 3, 2023Violence and HealingFeatures
The Dispute of the Century

Artwork by Roberto Vázquez

Currently there are many active conflicts in the world. All of them, in one way or another, generate violence.

They cause problems at the national and international level, and they must be solved as soon as they occur; for this, the help and empathy of everyone is needed.

In particular, the war in Ukraine is a conflict in which violence is at the forefront, with lives being lost on both sides through direct attacks and bombs. These attacks may be directed at military personnel, but we know that they have also been directed at civilians, many of them children.

But there is another type of violence, psychological violence, which occurs when all those affected are afraid of death, of being injured, of being made homeless by the destruction of cities, of losing family and friends. This leaves after-effects beyond the end of the war. Before going into detail about the different types of violence committed, it’s important to mention the abuse of women and children by some soldiers who want to look stronger or more prepared for the battle. It is also worth pointing out that information on the situation in Russia is scarce and largely unavailable because Russian newspapers are censored to the rest of the world, so this article will focus more on describing the violence committed against Ukrainians and how they might heal.

Physical Violence

Air bombardments, ground bombardments, tanks, and armed soldiers ready for combat advanced to invade the country of Ukraine. First the Russians started attacking the two most important cities of the country, Kiev and Kharkiv, then quickly expanded. Soon Ukraine saw the military superiority of the Russians when their troops arrived in the south of Ukraine and bombed active nuclear power plants. These aggressions were so massive because if the Russians were to achieve their goal, they had to use all the force at their disposal to do so.

Bombs, grenades, and other weapons are not selective, so when they are fired or dropped, they cover a radius. Although the purpose is to attack military forces, there are also civilians, women, children, and elderly people who can be hit. They are in the worst position to defend themselves and their solution is to flee or hide, although this is not always possible.

Psychological Violence

The war causes psychological consequences, either directly, by affecting a person who is immersed in this scenario, or indirectly, by affecting those who do not live this experience but hear information or data about it. This type of damage cannot go unnoticed, and this is where prevention can play an important role.

The experience of vulnerability and danger, of defencelessness and terror, can deeply mark the psyche of people, particularly children. The spectacle of rape or torture, of mass murder or execution, of shelling and the razing to the ground or the extermination of entire villages is traumatizing, and it overwhelms the individual's mechanisms for reacting to extreme situations.

Additionally, the war in Ukraine affects other countries indirectly. The rise in the price of gas has been considerable, since Russia deports a large proportion of it, and the price of agricultural products has increased, since Ukraine’s fields have been affected.


To be able to solve this huge problem, a very long healing process must be carried out, and not from the end of the war but from the beginning of it. Prevention is better than cure, even if prevention is impossible at the heights we are at. The main healing measure needed for all those affected is psychological help. This is something that has been provided from the beginning, and has given hope to many Ukrainian civilians. Even though they could die at any moment, they have felt supported in their moment of trauma.

The European Union has already donated billions of euros for weapons, food, psychologists, reconstruction of cities, and, above all, for shelter during these 13 months. All over Europe, campaigns have been carried out to help people affected by the war, so that while they are going through this difficult situation, they can sleep under a roof. Often, they have also been provided with a school or some kind of educational help so that children can continue with their studies.

Last but not least, military forces have joined the Ukrainian army, strengthening its opposition against Russian troops. The support of other countries encourages an atmosphere of optimism and freedom, and as more people support Ukraine, we hope there will be an end to the massacres that are impacting Ukrainian citizens every day.


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Álvaro Pérez de Aguado Durán is a 15-year-old from Madrid, Spain, who is interested in marketing, basketball, and philosophy.