Physical violence | Wikipedia audio article
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Violence is "behaviour which is intended to
hurt, injure, or kill people".
Less conventional definitions are also used,
such as the World Health Organization's definition
of violence as "the intentional use of physical
force or power, threatened or actual, against
oneself, another person, or against a group
or community, which either results in or has
a high likelihood of resulting in injury,
death, psychological harm, maldevelopment,
or deprivation."Globally, violence resulted
in the deaths of an estimated 1.28 million
people in 2013 up from 1.13 million in 1990.
Of the deaths in 2013, roughly 842,000 were
attributed to self-harm (suicide), 405,000
to interpersonal violence, and 31,000 to collective
violence (war) and legal intervention.
In Africa, out of every 100,000 people, each
year an estimated 60.9 die a violent death.
For each single death due to violence, there
are dozens of hospitalizations, hundreds of
emergency department visits, and thousands
of doctors' appointments.
Furthermore, violence often has lifelong consequences
for physical and mental health and social
functioning and can slow economic and social
In 2013, assault by firearm was the leading
cause of death due to interpersonal violence,
with 180,000 such deaths estimated to have
The same year, assault by sharp object resulted
in roughly 114,000 deaths, with a remaining
110,000 deaths from personal violence being
attributed to other causes.Violence in many
forms can be preventable.
There is a strong relationship between levels
of violence and modifiable factors in a country
such as concentrated (regional) poverty, income
and gender inequality, the harmful use of
alcohol, and the absence of safe, stable,
and nurturing relationships between children
Strategies addressing the underlying causes
of violence can be relatively effective in
preventing violence, although mental and physical
health and individual responses, personalities,
etc. have always been decisive factors in
the formation of these behaviors.
== Types ==
The World Health Organization divides violence
into three broad categories:
collective violenceThis initial categorization
differentiates between violence a person inflicts
upon himself or herself, violence inflicted
by another individual or by a small group
of individuals, and violence inflicted by
larger groups such as states, organized political
groups, militia groups and terrorist organizations.
These three broad categories are each divided
further to reflect more specific types of
emotionalAlternatively, violence can primarily
be classified as either instrumental or reactive
=== Self-directed violence ===
Self-directed violence is subdivided into
suicidal behaviour and self-abuse.
The former includes suicidal thoughts, attempted
suicides – also called para suicide or deliberate
self-injury in some countries – and completed
Self-abuse, in contrast, includes acts such
Collective violence ===
Collective violence is subdivided into structural
violence and economic violence.
Unlike the other two broad categories, the
subcategories of collective violence suggest
possible motives for violence committed by
larger groups of individuals or by states.
Collective violence that is committed to advance
a particular social agenda includes, for example,
crimes of hate committed by organized groups,
terrorist acts and mob violence.
Political violence includes war and related
violent conflicts, state violence and similar
acts carried out by larger groups.
Economic violence includes attacks by larger
groups motivated by economic gain – such
as attacks carried out with the purpose of
disrupting economic activity, denying access
to essential services, or creating economic
division and fragmentation.
Clearly, acts committed by larger groups can
have multiple motives.This typology, while
imperfect and far from being universally accepted,
does provide a useful framework for understanding
the complex patterns of violence taking place
around the world, as well as violence in the
everyday lives of individuals, families and
It also overcomes many of the limitations
of other typologies by capturing the nature
of violent acts, the relevance of the setting,
the relationship between the perpetrator and
the victim, and – in the case of collective
violence – possible motivations for the
However, in both research and practice, the
dividing lines between the different types
of violence are not always so clear.
State violence also involves upholding, forms
of violence of a structural nature, such as
poverty, through dismantling welfare, creating
strict policies such as 'welfare to work',
in order to cause further stimulation and
disadvantage Poverty as a form of violence
may involve oppressive policies that specifically
target minority or low socio-economic groups.
The 'war on drugs', for example, rather than
increasing the health and well-being of at
risk demographics, most often results in violence
committed against these vulnerable demographics
through incarceration, stigmatization and
War is a state of prolonged violent large-scale
conflict involving two or more groups of people,
usually under the auspices of government.
It is the most extreme form of collective
War is fought as a means of resolving territorial
and other conflicts, as war of aggression
to conquer territory or loot resources, in
national self-defence or liberation, or to
suppress attempts of part of the nation to
secede from it.
There are also ideological, religious and
revolutionary wars.Since the Industrial Revolution
the lethality of modern warfare has grown.
World War I casualties were over 40 million
and World War II casualties were over 70 million.
=== Non-physical ===
Violence includes those acts that result from
a power relationship, including threats and
intimidation, neglect or acts of omission.
Such non-physical violence has a broad range
of outcomes – including psychological harm,
deprivation and maldevelopment.
Violence may not necessarily result in injury
or death, but nonetheless poses a substantial
burden on individuals, families, communities
and health care systems worldwide.
Many forms of violence can result in physical,
psychological and social problems that do
not necessarily lead to injury, disability
These consequences can be immediate, as well
as latent, and can last for years after the
Defining outcomes solely in terms of injury
or death thus limits the understanding of
the full impact of violence.
=== Interpersonal violence ===
Interpersonal violence is divided into two
subcategories: Family and intimate partner
violence – that is, violence largely between
family members and intimate partners, usually,
though not exclusively, taking place in the
Community violence – violence between individuals
who are unrelated, and who may or may not
know each other, generally taking place outside
The former group includes forms of violence
such as child abuse, intimate partner violence
and abuse of the elderly.
The latter includes youth violence, random
acts of violence, rape or sexual assault by
strangers, and violence in institutional settings
such as schools, workplaces, prisons and nursing
When interpersonal violence occurs in families,
its psychological consequences can affect
parents, children, and their relationship
in the short- and long-terms.
==== Child maltreatment ====
Child maltreatment is the abuse and neglect
that occurs to children under 18 years of
It includes all types of physical and/or emotional
ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, negligence
and commercial or other child exploitation,
which results in actual or potential harm
to the child’s health, survival, development
or dignity in the context of a relationship
of responsibility, trust, or power.
Exposure to intimate partner violence is also
sometimes included as a form of child maltreatment.Child
maltreatment is a global problem with serious
lifelong consequences, which is, however,
complex and difficult to study.There are no
reliable global estimates for the prevalence
of child maltreatment.
Data for many countries, especially low- and
middle-income countries, are lacking.
Current estimates vary widely depending on
the country and the method of research used.
Approximately 20% of women and 5–10% of
men report being sexually abused as children,
while 25–50% of all children report being
physically abused.Consequences of child maltreatment
include impaired lifelong physical and mental
health, and social and occupational functioning
(e.g. school, job, and relationship difficulties).
These can ultimately slow a country's economic
and social development.
Preventing child maltreatment before it starts
is possible and requires a multisectoral approach.
Effective prevention programmes support parents
and teach positive parenting skills.
Ongoing care of children and families can
reduce the risk of maltreatment reoccurring
and can minimize its consequences.
==== Youth violence ====
Following the World Health Organization, youth
are defined as people between the ages of
10 and 29 years.
Youth violence refers to violence occurring
between youths, and includes acts that range
from bullying and physical fighting, through
more severe sexual and physical assault to
homicide.Worldwide some 250,000 homicides
occur among youth 10–29 years of age each
year, which is 41% of the total number of
homicides globally each year ("Global Burden
of Disease", World Health Organization, 2008).
For each young person killed, 20-40 more sustain
injuries requiring hospital treatment.
Youth violence has a serious, often lifelong,
impact on a person's psychological and social
Youth violence greatly increases the costs
of health, welfare and criminal justice services;
reduces productivity; decreases the value
of property; and generally undermines the
fabric of society.
Prevention programmes shown to be effective
or to have promise in reducing youth violence
include life skills and social development
programmes designed to help children and adolescents
manage anger, resolve conflict, and develop
the necessary social skills to solve problems;
schools-based anti-bullying prevention programmes;
and programmes to reduce access to alcohol,
illegal drugs and guns.
Also, given significant neighbourhood effects
on youth violence, interventions involving
relocating families to less poor environments
have shown promising results.
Similarly, urban renewal projects such as
business improvement districts have shown
a reduction in youth violence.Different types
of youth on youth violence include witnessing
or being involved in physical, emotional and
sexual abuse (e.g. physical attacks, bullying,
rape), and violent acts like gang shootings
According to researchers in 2018, "More than
half of children and adolescents living in
cities have experienced some form of community
The violence "can also all take place under
one roof, or in a given community or neighborhood
and can happen at the same time or at different
stages of life."
Youth violence has immediate and long term
adverse impact whether the individual was
the recipient of the violence or a witness
to it.Youth violence impacts individuals,
their families, and society.
Victims can have lifelong injuries which means
ongoing doctor and hospital visits, the cost
of which quickly add up.
Since the victims of youth-on-youth violence
may not be able to attend school or work because
of their physical and/or mental injuries,
it is often up to their family members to
take care of them, including paying their
daily living expenses and medical bills.
Their caretakers may have to give up their
jobs or work reduced hours to provide help
to the victim of violence.
This causes a further burden on society because
the victim and maybe even their caretakers
have to obtain government assistance to help
pay their bills.
Recent research has found that psychological
trauma during childhood can change a child's
"Trauma is known to physically affect the
brain and the body which causes anxiety, rage,
and the ability to concentrate.
They can also have problems remembering, trusting,
and forming relationships."
Since the brain becomes used to violence it
may stay continually in an alert state (similar
to being stuck in the fight or flight mode).
"Researchers claim that the youth who are
exposed to violence may have emotional, social,
and cognitive problems.
They may have trouble controlling emotions,
paying attention in school, withdraw from
friends, or show signs of post-traumatic stress
disorder".It is important for youth exposed
to violence to understand how their bodies
may react so they can take positive steps
to counteract any possible short- and long-term
negative effects (e.g., poor concentration,
feelings of depression, heightened levels
By taking immediate steps to mitigate the
effects of the trauma they’ve experienced,
negative repercussions can be reduced or eliminated.
As an initial step, the youths need to understand
why they may be feeling a certain way and
to understand how the violence they have experienced
may be causing negative feelings and making
them behave differently.
Pursuing a greater awareness of their feelings,
perceptions, and negative emotions is the
first step that should be taken as part of
recovering from the trauma they have experienced.
“Neuroscience research shows that the only
way we can change the way we feel is by becoming
aware of our inner experience and learning
to befriend what is going on inside ourselves”.Some
of the ways to combat the adverse effects
of exposure to youth violence would be to
try various mindfulness and movement activities,
deep breathing exercises and other actions
that enable youths to release their pent up
Using these techniques will teach body awareness,
reduce anxiety and nervousness, and reduce
feelings of anger and annoyance.
Over time these types of activities will help
these younger victims of violence to have
greater control over their feelings and behaviors
and avoid unhealthy ways of coping.
Another way to help trauma victims of youth
violence is through the arts.
This can be accomplished by giving them the
opportunity to engage in drawing, painting,
music, and singing which will give them an
outlet to express themselves and their emotions
in a positive way.Youth who have experienced
violence benefit from having a close relationship
with one or more people.
This is important because the trauma victims
need to have people who are safe and trustworthy
that they can relate and talk to about their
Some youth do not have adult figures at home
or someone they can count on for guidance
Schools in bad neighborhoods where youth violence
is prevalent should assign counselors to each
student so that they receive regular guidance.
In addition to counseling/therapy sessions
and programs, it has been recommended that
schools offer mentoring programs where students
can interact with adults who can be a positive
influence on them.
Another way is to create more neighborhood
programs to ensure that each child has a positive
and stable place to go when school in not
Many children have benefited from formal organizations
now which aim to help mentor and provide a
safe environment for the youth especially
those living in neighborhoods with higher
rates of violence.
This includes organizations such as Becoming
a Man, CeaseFire Illinois, Chicago Area Project,
Little Black Pearl, and Rainbow House".
These programs are designed to help give the
youth a safe place to go, stop the violence
from occurring, offering counseling and mentoring
to help stop the cycle of violence.
If the youth do not have a safe place to go
after school hours they will likely get into
trouble, receive poor grades, drop out of
school and use drugs and alcohol.
The gangs look for youth who do not have positive
influences in their life and need protection.
This is why these programs are so important
for the youth to have a safe environment rather
than resorting to the streets.
For example, Derek grew up amongst the violence
in Chicago in the 1980's and was even a former
It took him thirty years in a gang and time
in jail to realize he was on the wrong path.
He created a boxing program called "Boxing
Out Negativity" which provides youth in high
crime areas a safe place to get out their
anger and energy.
It helps them in a positive way and keeps
them off the street.
With the help of programs to help victims
of youth violence there is a greater opportunity
for these youth to turn their lives around.
==== Intimate partner violence ====
Intimate partner violence refers to behaviour
in an intimate relationship that causes physical,
sexual or psychological harm, including physical
aggression, sexual coercion, psychological
abuse and controlling behaviours.Population-level
surveys based on reports from victims provide
the most accurate estimates of the prevalence
of intimate partner violence and sexual violence
in non-conflict settings.
A study conducted by WHO in 10 mainly developing
countries found that, among women aged 15
to 49 years, between 15% (Japan) and 70% (Ethiopia
and Peru) of women reported physical and/or
sexual violence by an intimate partner.
Intimate partner and sexual violence have
serious short- and long-term physical, mental,
sexual and reproductive health problems for
victims and for their children, and lead to
high social and economic costs.
These include both fatal and non-fatal injuries,
depression and post-traumatic stress disorder,
unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted
infections, including HIV.Factors associated
with the perpetration and experiencing of
intimate partner violence are low levels of
education, history of violence as a perpetrator,
a victim or a witness of parental violence,
harmful use of alcohol, attitudes that are
accepting of violence as well as marital discord
Factors associated only with perpetration
of intimate partner violence are having multiple
partners, and antisocial personality disorder.
A recent theory named "The Criminal Spin"
suggests a mutual flywheel effect between
partners that is manifested by an escalation
in the violence.
A violent spin may occur in any other forms
of violence, but in Intimate partner violence
the added value is the mutual spin, based
on the unique situation and characteristics
of intimate relationship.
The primary prevention strategy with the best
evidence for effectiveness for intimate partner
violence is school-based programming for adolescents
to prevent violence within dating relationships.
Evidence is emerging for the effectiveness
of several other primary prevention strategies
– those that: combine microfinance with
gender equality training; promote communication
and relationship skills within communities;
reduce access to, and the harmful use of alcohol;
and change cultural gender norms.
==== Sexual violence ====
Sexual violence is any sexual act, attempt
to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments
or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise
directed against a person’s sexuality using
coercion, by any person regardless of their
relationship to the victim, in any setting.
It includes rape, defined as the physically
forced or otherwise coerced penetration of
the vulva or anus with a penis, other body
part or object.Population-level surveys based
on reports from victims estimate that between
0.3–11.5% of women reported experiencing
Sexual violence has serious short- and long-term
consequences on physical, mental, sexual and
reproductive health for victims and for their
children as described in the section on intimate
If perpetrated during childhood, sexual violence
can lead to increased smoking, drug and alcohol
misuse, and risky sexual behaviors in later
It is also associated with perpetration of
violence and being a victim of violence.
Many of the risk factors for sexual violence
are the same as for domestic violence.
Risk factors specific to sexual violence perpetration
include beliefs in family honor and sexual
purity, ideologies of male sexual entitlement
and weak legal sanctions for sexual violence.
Few interventions to prevent sexual violence
have been demonstrated to be effective.
School-based programmes to prevent child sexual
abuse by teaching children to recognize and
avoid potentially sexually abusive situations
are run in many parts of the world and appear
promising, but require further research.
To achieve lasting change, it is important
to enact legislation and develop policies
that protect women; address discrimination
against women and promote gender equality;
and help to move the culture away from violence.
==== Elder maltreatment ====
Elder maltreatment is a single or repeated
act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring
within any relationship where there is an
expectation of trust which causes harm or
distress to an older person.
This type of violence constitutes a violation
of human rights and includes physical, sexual,
psychological, emotional; financial and material
abuse; abandonment; neglect; and serious loss
of dignity and respect.While there is little
information regarding the extent of maltreatment
in elderly populations, especially in developing
countries, it is estimated that 4–6% of
elderly people in high-income countries have
experienced some form of maltreatment at home
However, older people are often afraid to
report cases of maltreatment to family, friends,
or to the authorities.
Data on the extent of the problem in institutions
such as hospitals, nursing homes and other
long-term care facilities are scarce.
Elder maltreatment can lead to serious physical
injuries and long-term psychological consequences.
Elder maltreatment is predicted to increase
as many countries are experiencing rapidly
Many strategies have been implemented to prevent
elder maltreatment and to take action against
it and mitigate its consequences including
public and professional awareness campaigns,
screening (of potential victims and abusers),
caregiver support interventions (e.g. stress
management, respite care), adult protective
services and self-help groups.
Their effectiveness has, however, not so far
Targeted violence ===
Several rare but painful episodes of assassination,
attempted assassination and school shootings
at elementary, middle, high schools, as well
as colleges and universities in the United
States, led to a considerable body of research
on ascertainable behaviors of persons who
have planned or carried out such attacks.
These studies (1995–2002) investigated what
the authors called "targeted violence," described
the "path to violence" of those who planned
or carried out attacks and laid out suggestions
for law enforcement and educators.
A major point from these research studies
is that targeted violence does not just "come
out of the blue".
=== Everyday violence ===
As an anthropological concept, "everyday violence"
may refer to the incorporation of different
forms of violence (mainly political violence)
into daily practices.
== Factors ==
Violence cannot be attributed to a single
Its causes are complex and occur at different
To represent this complexity, the ecological,
or social ecological model is often used.
The following four-level version of the ecological
model is often used in the study of violence:
The first level identifies biological and
personal factors that influence how individuals
behave and increase their likelihood of becoming
a victim or perpetrator of violence: demographic
characteristics (age, education, income),
genetics, brain lesions, personality disorders,
substance abuse, and a history of experiencing,
witnessing, or engaging in violent behaviour.The
second level focuses on close relationships,
such as those with family and friends.
In youth violence, for example, having friends
who engage in or encourage violence can increase
a young person’s risk of being a victim
or perpetrator of violence.
For intimate partner violence, a consistent
marker at this level of the model is marital
conflict or discord in the relationship.
In elder abuse, important factors are stress
due to the nature of the past relationship
between the abused person and the care giver.
The third level explores the community context—i.e.,
schools, workplaces, and neighbourhoods.
Risk at this level may be affected by factors
such as the existence of a local drug trade,
the absence of social networks, and concentrated
All these factors have been shown to be important
in several types of violence.
Finally, the fourth level looks at the broad
societal factors that help to create a climate
in which violence is encouraged or inhibited:
the responsiveness of the criminal justice
system, social and cultural norms regarding
gender roles or parent-child relationships,
income inequality, the strength of the social
welfare system, the social acceptability of
violence, the availability of weapons, the
exposure to violence in mass media, and political
=== Child-rearing ===
Cross-cultural studies have shown that greater
prevalence of corporal punishment of children
tends to predict higher levels of violence
For instance, a 2005 analysis of 186 pre-industrial
societies found that corporal punishment was
more prevalent in societies which also had
higher rates of homicide, assault, and war.
In the United States, domestic corporal punishment
has been linked to later violent acts against
family members and spouses.
While studies showing associations between
physical punishment of children and later
aggression cannot prove that physical punishment
causes an increase in aggression, a number
of longitudinal studies suggest that the experience
of physical punishment has a direct causal
effect on later aggressive behaviors.
The American family violence researcher Murray
A. Straus believes that disciplinary spanking
forms "the most prevalent and important form
of violence in American families", whose effects
contribute to several major societal problems,
including later domestic violence and crime.
=== Psychology ===
The causes of violent behavior in people are
often a topic of research in psychology.
Neurobiologist Jan Vodka emphasizes that,
for those purposes, "violent behavior is defined
as overt and intentional physically aggressive
behavior against another person."Based on
the idea of human nature, scientists do agree
violence is inherent in humans.
Among prehistoric humans, there is archaeological
evidence for both contentions of violence
and peacefulness as primary characteristics.Since
violence is a matter of perception as well
as a measurable phenomenon, psychologists
have found variability in whether people perceive
certain physical acts as "violent".
For example, in a state where execution is
a legalized punishment we do not typically
perceive the executioner as "violent", though
we may talk, in a more metaphorical way, of
the state acting violently.
Likewise, understandings of violence are linked
to a perceived aggressor-victim relationship:
hence psychologists have shown that people
may not recognise defensive use of force as
violent, even in cases where the amount of
force used is significantly greater than in
the original aggression.The "violent male
ape" image is often brought up in discussions
of human violence.
Dale Peterson and Richard Wranghamin "Demonic
Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence"
write that violence is inherent in humans,
though not inevitable.
However, William L. Ury, editor of a book
called "We Must Fight!
From the Battlefield to the Schoolyard—A
New Perspective on Violent Conflict and Its
Prevention" criticizes the "killer ape" myth
in his book which brings together discussions
from two Harvard Law School symposiums.
The conclusion is that "we also have lots
of natural mechanisms for cooperation, to
keep conflict in check, to channel aggression,
and to overcome conflict.
These are just as natural to us as the aggressive
tendencies."The psychiatrist James Gilligan
argues that most violent behavior represents
an effort to eliminate feelings of shame and
humiliation, which he calls "the death of
The use of violence often is a source of pride
and a defence of honor, especially among males
who believe violence defines manhood.In an
article entitled "The History of Violence"
in The New Republic, Steven Pinker posits
that, on average, the amount and cruelty of
violence to humans and animals has decreased
over the last few centuries.Pinker's observation
of the decline in interpersonal violence echoes
the work of Norbert Elias, who attributes
the decline to a "civilizing process", in
which the state's monopolization of violence,
the maintenance of socioeconomic interdependencies
or "figurations", and the maintenance of behavioural
codes in culture all contribute to the development
of individual sensibilities, which increase
the repugnance of individuals towards violent
acts.Some scholars disagree with the argument
that all violence is decreasing arguing that
not all types of violent behaviour are lower
now than in the past.
They suggest that research typically focuses
on lethal violence, often looks at homicide
rates of death due to warfare, but ignore
the less obvious forms of violence.
However, non-lethal violence, such as assaults
or bullying appear to be declining as well.
In his article "The Coming Anarchy", Robert
D. Kaplan introduces the notion of liberating
According to Kaplan, we will observe more
violent civil wars in the future, which will
be fought due to economic inequalities around
the world.The concept of violence normalization,
is known as socially sanctioned or structural
violence, and is a topic of increasing interest
to researchers trying to understand violent
It has been discussed at length by researchers
in sociology, medical anthropology, psychology,
philosophy, and bioarchaeology.Evolutionary
psychology offers several explanations for
human violence in various contexts, such as
sexual jealousy in humans, child abuse, and
Goetz (2010) argues that humans are similar
to most mammal species and use violence in
He writes that "Buss and Shackelford (1997a)
proposed seven adaptive problems our ancestors
recurrently faced that might have been solved
by aggression: co-opting the resources of
others, defending against attack, inflicting
costs on same-sex rivals, negotiating status
and hierarchies, deterring rivals from future
aggression, deterring mate from infidelity,
and reducing resources expended on genetically
unrelated children."Goetz writes that most
homicides seem to start from relatively trivial
disputes between unrelated men who then escalate
to violence and death.
He argues that such conflicts occur when there
is a status dispute between men of relatively
If there is a great initial status difference,
then the lower status individual usually offers
no challenge and if challenged the higher
status individual usually ignores the lower
At the same an environment of great inequalities
between people may cause those at the bottom
to use more violence in attempts to gain status.
=== Media ===
Research into the media and violence examines
whether links between consuming media violence
and subsequent aggressive and violent behaviour
Although some scholars had claimed media violence
may increase aggression, this view is coming
increasingly in doubt both in the scholarly
community and was rejected by the US Supreme
Court in the Brown v EMA case, as well as
in a review of video game violence by the
Australian Government (2010) which concluded
evidence for harmful effects were inconclusive
at best and the rhetoric of some scholars
was not matched by good data.
== Prevention ==
The threat and enforcement of physical punishment
has been a tried and tested method of preventing
some violence since civilisation began.
It is used in various degrees in most countries.
=== Interpersonal violence ===
A review of scientific literature by the World
Health Organization on the effectiveness of
strategies to prevent interpersonal violence
identified the seven strategies below as being
supported by either strong or emerging evidence
These strategies target risk factors at all
four levels of the ecological model.
==== Child–caregiver relationships ====
Among the most effective such programmes to
prevent child maltreatment and reduce childhood
aggression are the Nurse Family Partnership
home-visiting programme and the Triple P (Parenting
There is also emerging evidence that these
programmes reduce convictions and violent
acts in adolescence and early adulthood, and
probably help decrease intimate partner violence
and self-directed violence in later life.
==== Life skills in youth ====
Evidence shows that the life skills acquired
in social development programmes can reduce
involvement in violence, improve social skills,
boost educational achievement and improve
Life skills refer to social, emotional, and
behavioural competencies which help children
and adolescents effectively deal with the
challenges of everyday life.
==== Gender equality ====
Evaluation studies are beginning to support
community interventions that aim to prevent
violence against women by promoting gender
For instance, evidence suggests that programmes
that combine microfinance with gender equity
training can reduce intimate partner violence.
School-based programmes such as Safe Dates
programme in the United States of America
and the Youth Relationship Project in Canada
have been found to be effective for reducing
==== Cultural norms ====
Rules or expectations of behaviour – norms
– within a cultural or social group can
Interventions that challenge cultural and
social norms supportive of violence can prevent
acts of violence and have been widely used,
but the evidence base for their effectiveness
is currently weak.
The effectiveness of interventions addressing
dating violence and sexual abuse among teenagers
and young adults by challenging social and
cultural norms related to gender is supported
by some evidence.
==== Support programmes ====
Interventions to identify victims of interpersonal
violence and provide effective care and support
are critical for protecting health and breaking
cycles of violence from one generation to
Examples for which evidence of effectiveness
is emerging includes: screening tools to identify
victims of intimate partner violence and refer
them to appropriate services; psychosocial
interventions – such as trauma-focused cognitive
behavioural therapy – to reduce mental health
problems associated with violence, including
post-traumatic stress disorder; and protection
orders, which prohibit a perpetrator from
contacting the victim, to reduce repeat victimization
among victims of intimate partner violence.
=== Collective violence ===
Not surprisingly, scientific evidence about
the effectiveness of interventions to prevent
collective violence is lacking.
However, policies that facilitate reductions
in poverty, that make decision-making more
accountable, that reduce inequalities between
groups, as well as policies that reduce access
to biological, chemical, nuclear and other
weapons have been recommended.
When planning responses to violent conflicts,
recommended approaches include assessing at
an early stage who is most vulnerable and
what their needs are, co-ordination of activities
between various players and working towards
global, national and local capabilities so
as to deliver effective health services during
the various stages of an emergency.
=== Criminal justice ===
One of the main functions of law is to regulate
Sociologist Max Weber stated that the state
claims the monopoly of the legitimate use
of force practised within the confines of
a specific territory.
Law enforcement is the main means of regulating
nonmilitary violence in society.
Governments regulate the use of violence through
legal systems governing individuals and political
authorities, including the police and military.
Civil societies authorize some amount of violence,
exercised through the police power, to maintain
the status quo and enforce laws.
However, German political theorist Hannah
Arendt noted: "Violence can be justifiable,
but it never will be legitimate … Its justification
loses in plausibility the farther its intended
end recedes into the future.
No one questions the use of violence in self-defence,
because the danger is not only clear but also
present, and the end justifying the means
Arendt made a clear distinction between violence
Most political theorists regarded violence
as an extreme manifestation of power whereas
Arendt regarded the two concepts as opposites.
In the 20th century in acts of democide governments
may have killed more than 260 million of their
own people through police brutality, execution,
massacre, slave labour camps, and sometimes
through intentional famine.Violent acts that
are not carried out by the military or police
and that are not in self-defense are usually
classified as crimes, although not all crimes
are violent crimes.
Damage to property is classified as violent
crime in some jurisdictions but not in all.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
classifies violence resulting in homicide
into criminal homicide and justifiable homicide
(e.g. self-defense).The criminal justice approach
sees its main task as enforcing laws that
proscribe violence and ensuring that "justice
The notions of individual blame, responsibility,
guilt, and culpability are central to criminal
justice's approach to violence and one of
the criminal justice system's main tasks is
to "do justice", i.e. to ensure that offenders
are properly identified, that the degree of
their guilt is as accurately ascertained as
possible, and that they are punished appropriately.
To prevent and respond to violence, the criminal
justice approach relies primarily on deterrence,
incarceration and the punishment and rehabilitation
of perpetrators.The criminal justice approach,
beyond justice and punishment, has traditionally
emphasized indicated interventions, aimed
at those who have already been involved in
violence, either as victims or as perpetrators.
One of the main reasons offenders are arrested,
prosecuted, and convicted is to prevent further
crimes – through deterrence (threatening
potential offenders with criminal sanctions
if they commit crimes), incapacitation (physically
preventing offenders from committing further
crimes by locking them up) and through rehabilitation
(using time spent under state supervision
to develop skills or change one's psychological
make-up to reduce the likelihood of future
offences).In recent decades in many countries
in the world, the criminal justice system
has taken an increasing interest in preventing
violence before it occurs.
For instance, much of community and problem-oriented
policing aims to reduce crime and violence
by altering the conditions that foster it
– and not to increase the number of arrests.
Indeed, some police leaders have gone so far
as to say the police should primarily be a
crime prevention agency.
Juvenile justice systems – an important
component of criminal justice systems – are
largely based on the belief in rehabilitation
In the US, the criminal justice system has,
for instance, funded school- and community-based
initiatives to reduce children's access to
guns and teach conflict resolution.
In 1974, the US Department of Justice assumed
primary responsibility for delinquency prevention
programmes and created the Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which
has supported the "Blueprints for violence
prevention" programme at the University of
=== Public health ===
The public health approach is a science-driven,
population-based, interdisciplinary, intersectoral
approach based on the ecological model which
emphasizes primary prevention.
Rather than focusing on individuals, the public
health approach aims to provide the maximum
benefit for the largest number of people,
and to extend better care and safety to entire
The public health approach is interdisciplinary,
drawing upon knowledge from many disciplines
including medicine, epidemiology, sociology,
psychology, criminology, education and economics.
Because all forms of violence are multi-faceted
problems, the public health approach emphasizes
a multi-sectoral response.
It has been proved time and again that cooperative
efforts from such diverse sectors as health,
education, social welfare, and criminal justice
are often necessary to solve what are usually
assumed to be purely "criminal" or "medical"
The public health approach considers that
violence, rather than being the result of
any single factor, is the outcome of multiple
risk factors and causes, interacting at four
levels of a nested hierarchy (individual,
close relationship/family, community and wider
society) of the Social ecological model.
From a public health perspective, prevention
strategies can be classified into three types:
Primary prevention – approaches that aim
to prevent violence before it occurs.
Secondary prevention – approaches that focus
on the more immediate responses to violence,
such as pre-hospital care, emergency services
or treatment for sexually transmitted infections
following a rape.
Tertiary prevention – approaches that focus
on long-term care in the wake of violence,
such as rehabilitation and reintegration,
and attempt to lessen trauma or reduce long-term
disability associated with violence.A public
health approach emphasizes the primary prevention
of violence, i.e. stopping them from occurring
in the first place.
Until recently, this approach has been relatively
neglected in the field, with the majority
of resources directed towards secondary or
Perhaps the most critical element of a public
health approach to prevention is the ability
to identify underlying causes rather than
focusing upon more visible "symptoms".
This allows for the development and testing
of effective approaches to address the underlying
causes and so improve health.
The public health approach is an evidence-based
and systematic process involving the following
Defining the problem conceptually and numerically,
using statistics that accurately describe
the nature and scale of violence, the characteristics
of those most affected, the geographical distribution
of incidents, and the consequences of exposure
to such violence.
Investigating why the problem occurs by determining
its causes and correlates, the factors that
increase or decrease the risk of its occurrence
(risk and protective factors) and the factors
that might be modifiable through intervention.
Exploring ways to prevent the problem by using
the above information and designing, monitoring
and rigorously assessing the effectiveness
of programmes through outcome evaluations.
Disseminating information on the effectiveness
of programmes and increasing the scale of
proven effective programmes.
Approaches to prevent violence, whether targeted
at individuals or entire communities, must
be properly evaluated for their effectiveness
and the results shared.
This step also includes adapting programmes
to local contexts and subjecting them to rigorous
re-evaluation to ensure their effectiveness
in the new setting.In many countries, violence
prevention is still a new or emerging field
in public health.
The public health community has started only
recently to realize the contributions it can
make to reducing violence and mitigating its
In 1949, Gordon called for injury prevention
efforts to be based on the understanding of
causes, in a similar way to prevention efforts
for communicable and other diseases.
In 1962, Gomez, referring to the WHO definition
of health, stated that it is obvious that
violence does not contribute to "extending
life" or to a "complete state of well-being".
He defined violence as an issue that public
health experts needed to address and stated
that it should not be the primary domain of
lawyers, military personnel, or politicians.However,
it is only in the last 30 years that public
health has begun to address violence, and
only in the last fifteen has it done so at
the global level.
This is a much shorter period of time than
public health has been tackling other health
problems of comparable magnitude and with
similarly severe lifelong consequences.
The global public health response to interpersonal
violence began in earnest in the mid-1990s.
In 1996, the World Health Assembly adopted
Resolution WHA49.25 which declared violence
"a leading worldwide public health problem"
and requested that the World Health Organization
(WHO) initiate public health activities to
(1) document and characterize the burden of
violence, (2) assess the effectiveness of
programmes, with particular attention to women
and children and community-based initiatives,
and (3) promote activities to tackle the problem
at the international and national levels.
The World Health Organization's initial response
to this resolution was to create the Department
of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability
and to publish the World report on violence
and health (2002).The case for the public
health sector addressing interpersonal violence
rests on four main arguments.
First, the significant amount of time health
care professionals dedicate to caring for
victims and perpetrators of violence has made
them familiar with the problem and has led
many, particularly in emergency departments,
to mobilize to address it.
The information, resources, and infrastructures
the health care sector has at its disposal
are an important asset for research and prevention
Second, the magnitude of the problem and its
potentially severe lifelong consequences and
high costs to individuals and wider society
call for population-level interventions typical
of the public health approach.
Third, the criminal justice approach, the
other main approach to addressing violence
(link to entry above), has traditionally been
more geared towards violence that occurs between
male youths and adults in the street and other
public places – which makes up the bulk
of homicides in most countries – than towards
violence occurring in private settings such
as child maltreatment, intimate partner violence
and elder abuse – which makes up the largest
share of non-fatal violence.
Fourth, evidence is beginning to accumulate
that a science-based public health approach
is effective at preventing interpersonal violence.
=== Human rights ===
The human rights approach is based on the
obligations of states to respect, protect
and fulfill human rights and therefore to
prevent, eradicate and punish violence.
It recognizes violence as a violation of many
human rights: the rights to life, liberty,
autonomy and security of the person; the rights
to equality and non-discrimination; the rights
to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman
and degrading treatment or punishment; the
right to privacy; and the right to the highest
attainable standard of health.
These human rights are enshrined in international
and regional treaties and national constitutions
and laws, which stipulate the obligations
of states, and include mechanisms to hold
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination Against Women, for example,
requires that countries party to the Convention
take all appropriate steps to end violence
The Convention on the Rights of the Child
in its Article 19 states that States Parties
shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative,
social and educational measures to protect
the child from all forms of physical or mental
violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent
treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including
sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s),
legal guardian(s) or any other person who
has the care of the child.
=== Geographical context ===
Violence, as defined in the dictionary of
human geography, "appears whenever power is
in jeopardy" and "in and of itself stands
emptied of strength and purpose: it is part
of a larger matrix of socio-political power
Violence can be broadly divided into three
broad categories – direct violence, structural
violence and cultural violence.
Thus defined and delineated, it is of note,
as Hyndman says, that "geography came late
to theorizing violence" in comparison to other
Social and human geography, rooted in the
humanist, Marxist, and feminist subfields
that emerged following the early positivist
approaches and subsequent behavioral turn,
have long been concerned with social and spatial
Along with critical geographers and political
geographers, it is these groupings of geographers
that most often interact with violence.
Keeping this idea of social/spatial justice
via geography in mind, it is worthwhile to
look at geographical approaches to violence
in the context of politics.
Derek Gregory and Alan Pred assembled the
influential edited collection Violent Geographies:
Fear, Terror, and Political Violence, which
demonstrates how place, space, and landscape
are foremost factors in the real and imagined
practices of organized violence both historically
and in the present.
Evidently, political violence often gives
a part for the state to play.
When "modern states not only claim a monopoly
of the legitimate means of violence; they
also routinely use the threat of violence
to enforce the rule of law", the law not only
becomes a form of violence but is violence.
Philosopher Giorgio Agamben's concepts of
state of exception and homo sacer are useful
to consider within a geography of violence.
The state, in the grip of a perceived, potential
crisis (whether legitimate or not) takes preventative
legal measures, such as a suspension of rights
(it is in this climate, as Agamben demonstrates,
that the formation of the Social Democratic
and Nazi government's lager or concentration
camp can occur).
However, when this "in limbo" reality is designed
to be in place "until further notice…the
state of exception thus ceases to be referred
to as an external and provisional state of
factual danger and comes to be confused with
juridical rule itself".
For Agamben, the physical space of the camp
"is a piece of land placed outside the normal
juridical order, but it is nevertheless not
simply an external space".
At the scale of the body, in the state of
exception, a person is so removed from their
rights by "juridical procedures and deployments
of power" that "no act committed against them
could appear any longer as a crime"; in other
words, people become only homo sacer.
Guantanamo Bay could also be said to represent
the physicality of the state of exception
in space, and can just as easily draw man
as homo sacer.
In the 1970s, genocides in Cambodia under
the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot resulted in the
deaths of over two million Cambodians (which
was 25% of the Cambodian population), forming
one of the many contemporary examples of state-sponsored
About fourteen thousand of these murders occurred
at Choeung Ek, which is the best-known of
the extermination camps referred to as the
The killings were arbitrary; for example,
a person could be killed for wearing glasses,
since that was seen as associating them with
intellectuals and therefore as making them
part of the enemy.
People were murdered with impunity because
it was no crime; Cambodians were made homo
sacer in a condition of bare life.
The Killing Fields—manifestations of Agamben's
concept of camps beyond the normal rule of
law—featured the state of exception.
As part of Pol Pot's "ideological intent…to
create a purely agrarian society or cooperative",
he "dismantled the country's existing economic
infrastructure and depopulated every urban
Forced movement, such as this forced movement
applied by Pol Pot, is a clear display of
When "symbols of Cambodian society were equally
disrupted, social institutions of every kind…were
purged or torn down", cultural violence (defined
as when "any aspect of culture such as language,
religion, ideology, art, or cosmology is used
to legitimize direct or structural violence")
is added to the structural violence of forced
movement and to the direct violence, such
as murder, at the Killing Fields.
Vietnam eventually intervened and the genocide
However, ten million landmines left by opposing
guerillas in the 1970s continue to create
a violent landscape in Cambodia.
Human geography, though coming late to the
theorizing table, has tackled violence through
many lenses, including anarchist geography,
feminist geography, Marxist geography, political
geography, and critical geography.
However, Adriana Cavarero notes that, "as
violence spreads and assumes unheard-of forms,
it becomes difficult to name in contemporary
Cavarero proposes that, in facing such a truth,
it is prudent to reconsider violence as "horrorism";
that is, "as though ideally all the…victims,
instead of their killers, ought to determine
With geography often adding the forgotten
spatial aspect to theories of social science,
rather than creating them solely within the
discipline, it seems that the self-reflexive
contemporary geography of today may have an
extremely important place in this current
(re)imaging of violence, exemplified by Cavarero.
== Epidemiology ==
As of 2010, all forms of violence resulted
in about 1.34 million deaths up from about
1 million in 1990.
Suicide accounts for about 883,000, interpersonal
violence for 456,000 and collective violence
Deaths due to collective violence have decreased
from 64,000 in 1990.By way of comparison,
the 1.5 millions deaths a year due to violence
is greater than the number of deaths due to
tuberculosis (1.34 million), road traffic
injuries (1.21 million), and malaria (830'000),
but slightly less than the number of people
who die from HIV/AIDS (1.77 million).For every
death due to violence, there are numerous
In 2008, over 16 million cases of non-fatal
violence-related injuries were severe enough
to require medical attention.
Beyond deaths and injuries, forms of violence
such as child maltreatment, intimate partner
violence, and elder maltreatment have been
found to be highly prevalent.
=== Self-directed violence ===
In the last 45 years, suicide rates have increased
by 60% worldwide.
Suicide is among the three leading causes
of death among those aged 15–44 years in
some countries, and the second leading cause
of death in the 10–24 years age group.
These figures do not include suicide attempts
which are up to 20 times more frequent than
Suicide was the 16th leading cause of death
worldwide in 2004 and is projected to increase
to the 12th in 2030.
Although suicide rates have traditionally
been highest among the male elderly, rates
among young people have been increasing to
such an extent that they are now the group
at highest risk in a third of countries, in
both developed and developing countries.
=== Interpersonal violence ===
Rates and patterns of violent death vary by
country and region.
In recent years, homicide rates have been
highest in developing countries in Sub-Saharan
Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean
and lowest in East Asia, the western Pacific,
and some countries in northern Africa.
Studies show a strong, inverse relationship
between homicide rates and both economic development
and economic equality.
Poorer countries, especially those with large
gaps between the rich and the poor, tend to
have higher rates of homicide than wealthier
Homicide rates differ markedly by age and
Gender differences are least marked for children.
For the 15 to 29 age group, male rates were
nearly six times those for female rates; for
the remaining age groups, male rates were
from two to four times those for females.Studies
in a number of countries show that, for every
homicide among young people age 10 to 24,
20 to 40 other young people receive hospital
treatment for a violent injury.Forms of violence
such as child maltreatment and intimate partner
violence are highly prevalent.
Approximately 20% of women and 5–10% of
men report being sexually abused as children,
while 25–50% of all children report being
A WHO multi-country study found that between
15–71% of women reported experiencing physical
and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner
at some point in their lives.
=== Collective violence ===
Wars grab headlines, but the individual risk
of dying violently in an armed conflict is
today relatively low—much lower than the
risk of violent death in many countries that
are not suffering from an armed conflict.
For example, between 1976 and 2008, African
Americans were victims of 329,825 homicides.
Although there is a widespread perception
that war is the most dangerous form of armed
violence in the world, the average person
living in a conflict-affected country had
a risk of dying violently in the conflict
of about 2.0 per 100,000 population between
2004 and 2007.
This can be compared to the average world
homicide rate of 7.6 per 100,000 people.
This illustration highlights the value of
accounting for all forms of armed violence
rather than an exclusive focus on conflict
Certainly, there are huge variations in the
risk of dying from armed conflict at the national
and subnational level, and the risk of dying
violently in a conflict in specific countries
remains extremely high.
In Iraq, for example, the direct conflict
death rate for 2004–07 was 65 per 100,000
people per year and, in Somalia, 24 per 100,000
This rate even reached peaks of 91 per 100,000
in Iraq in 2006 and 74 per 100,000 in Somalia
== History ==
Organized, large-scale, militaristic, or regular
human-on-human violence was absent for the
vast majority of the human timeline, and is
first documented to have started only relatively
recently in the Holocene, an epoch that began
about 11,700 years ago, probably with the
advent of higher population densities due
Social anthropologist Douglas P. Fry writes
that scholars are divided on the origins of
this greater degree of violence—in other
words, war-like behavior: There are basically
two schools of thought on this issue.
One holds that warfare… goes back at least
to the time of the first thoroughly modern
humans and even before then to the primate
ancestors of the hominid lineage.
The second positions on the origins of warfare
sees war as much less common in the cultural
and biological evolution of humans.
Here, warfare is a latecomer on the cultural
horizon, only arising in very specific material
circumstances and being quite rare in human
history until the development of agriculture
in the past 10,000 years.
Jared Diamond in his books Guns, Germs and
Steel and The Third Chimpanzee posits that
the rise of large-scale warfare is the result
of advances in technology and city-states.
For instance, the rise of agriculture provided
a significant increase in the number of individuals
that a region could sustain over hunter-gatherer
societies, allowing for development of specialized
classes such as soldiers, or weapons manufacturers.
In academia, the idea of the peaceful pre-history
and non-violent tribal societies gained popularity
with the post-colonial perspective.
The trend, starting in archaeology and spreading
to anthropology reached its height in the
late half of the 20th century.
However, some newer research in archaeology
and bioarchaeology may provide evidence that
violence within and among groups is not a
According to the book "The Bioarchaeology
of Violence" violence is a behavior that is
found throughout human history.Lawrence H.
Keeley at the University of Illinois writes
in War Before Civilization that 87% of tribal
societies were at war more than once per year,
and that 65% of them were fighting continuously.
He writes that the attrition rate of numerous
close-quarter clashes, which characterize
endemic warfare, produces casualty rates of
up to 60%, compared to 1% of the combatants
as is typical in modern warfare.
"Primitive Warfare" of these small groups
or tribes was driven by the basic need for
sustenance and violent competition.Fry explores
Keeley's argument in depth and counters that
such sources erroneously focus on the ethnography
of hunters and gatherers in the present, whose
culture and values have been infiltrated externally
by modern civilization, rather than the actual
archaeological record spanning some two million
years of human existence.
Fry determines that all present ethnographically
studied tribal societies, "by the very fact
of having been described and published by
anthropologists, have been irrevocably impacted
by history and modern colonial nation states"
and that "many have been affected by state
societies for at least 5000 years."
=== The Better Angels of Our Nature ===
Steven Pinker's 2011 book, The Better Angels
of Our Nature, roused both acclaim and controversy
by asserting that modern society is less violent
than in periods of the past, whether on the
short scale of decades or long scale of centuries
Steven Pinker argues that by every possible
measure, every type of violence has drastically
decreased since ancient and medieval times.
A few centuries ago, for example, genocide
was a standard practice in all kinds of warfare
and was so common that historians did not
even bother to mention it.
According to Pinker, rape, murder, warfare
and animal cruelty have all seen drastic declines
in the 20th century.
However, Pinker's analyses have met with much
criticism; for example, Pinker himself, on
his FAQ page, states that he does not include
catastrophic ecological violence (including
violence against wild or domesticated non-human
animals or plants, or against ecosystems)
or the violence of economic inequality and
of coercive working conditions in his definition;
he controversially regards these forms of
violence as "metaphorical".
Some critics have therefore argued that Pinker
suffers from "a reductive vision of what it
means to be violent."
== Society and culture ==
Beyond deaths and injuries, highly prevalent
forms of violence (such as child maltreatment
and intimate partner violence) have serious
lifelong non-injury health consequences.
Victims may engage in high-risk behaviours
such as alcohol and substance misuse and smoking,
which in turn can contribute to cardiovascular
disorders, cancers, depression, diabetes and
HIV/AIDS, resulting in premature death.
The balances of prevention, mitigation, mediation
and exacerbation are complex, and vary with
the underpinnings of violence.
=== Economic effects ===
In countries with high levels of violence,
economic growth can be slowed down, personal
and collective security eroded, and social
Families edging out of poverty and investing
in schooling their sons and daughters can
be ruined through the violent death or severe
disability of the main breadwinner.
Communities can be caught in poverty traps
where pervasive violence and deprivation form
a vicious circle that stifles economic growth.
For societies, meeting the direct costs of
health, criminal justice, and social welfare
responses to violence diverts many billions
of dollars from more constructive societal
The much larger indirect costs of violence
due to lost productivity and lost investment
in education work together to slow economic
development, increase socioeconomic inequality,
and erode human and social capital.
Additionally, communities with high level
of violence do not provide the level of stability
and predictability vital for a prospering
Individuals will be less likely to invest
money and effort towards growth in such unstable
and violent conditions.
One of the possible proves might be the study
of Baten and Gust that used “regicide”
as measurement unit to approximate the influence
of interpersonal violence and depict the influence
of high interpersonal violence on economic
development and level of investments.
The results of the research prove the correlation
of the human capital and the interpersonal
violence.In 2016, the Institute for Economics
and Peace, released the Economic Value of
Peace report, which estimates the economic
impact of violence and conflict on the global
economy, the total economic impact of violence
on the world economy in 2015 was estimated
to be $13.6 trillion in purchasing power parity
=== Religion ===
Religious and political ideologies have been
the cause of interpersonal violence throughout
Ideologues often falsely accuse others of
violence, such as the ancient blood libel
against Jews, the medieval accusations of
casting witchcraft spells against women, and
modern accusations of satanic ritual abuse
against day care center owners and others.Both
supporters and opponents of the 21st-century
War on Terrorism regard it largely as an ideological
and religious war.Vittorio Bufacchi describes
two different modern concepts of violence,
one the "minimalist conception" of violence
as an intentional act of excessive or destructive
force, the other the "comprehensive conception"
which includes violations of rights, including
a long list of human needs.Anti-capitalists
assert that capitalism is violent.
They believe private property and profit survive
only because police violence defends them
and that capitalist economies need war to
They may use the term "structural violence"
to describe the systematic ways in which a
given social structure or institution kills
people slowly by preventing them from meeting
their basic needs, for example the deaths
caused by diseases because of lack of medicine.Frantz
Fanon critiqued the violence of colonialism
and wrote about the counter violence of the
"colonized victims."Throughout history, most
religions and individuals like Mahatma Gandhi
have preached that humans are capable of eliminating
individual violence and organizing societies
through purely nonviolent means.
Gandhi himself once wrote: "A society organized
and run on the basis of complete non-violence
would be the purest anarchy."
Modern political ideologies which espouse
similar views include pacifist varieties of
voluntarism, mutualism, anarchism and libertarianism.
Terence Fretheim writing about the Old Testament:
For many people, … only physical violence
truly qualifies as violence.
But, certainly, violence is more than killing
people, unless one includes all those words
and actions that kill people slowly.
The effect of limitation to a “killing fields”
perspective is the widespread neglect of many
other forms of violence.
We must insist that violence also refers to
that which is psychologically destructive,
that which demeans, damages, or depersonalizes
In view of these considerations, violence
may be defined as follows: any action, verbal
or nonverbal, oral or written, physical or
psychical, active or passive, public or private,
individual or institutional/societal, human
or divine, in whatever degree of intensity,
that abuses, violates, injures, or kills.
Some of the most pervasive and most dangerous
forms of violence are those that are often
hidden from view (against women and children,
especially); just beneath the surface in many
of our homes, churches, and communities is
abuse enough to freeze the
Moreover, many forms of systemic violence
often slip past our attention because they
are so much a part of the infrastructure of
life (e.g., racism, sexism, ageism).
== See also ==
Aestheticization of violence