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How to define violence?

Violence is all that is damaging to the integrity of others and of oneself. It is also a tool of last resort...

Violence - damage to integrity


Violence is all that is damaging to the physical, psychic, mental, and structural integrity - of others and of oneself, and perceived as such. Two boys who engage in a very physical game are in violence only when one is no longer agreeing and the other continues. You can read the definitions of these different types of violence in our Dictionary of peace.

Violence - tool of last resort


He who says use of violence says tool. Violence is neither a personality trait, nor an emotion, but a tool. It is a tool of last resort among the multiple tools that animals and humans have available to protect themselves from aggression and from death.

Because violence is just a tool of last resort, its place is in a safe deep within ourselves. The violence tool is like a disaster risk insurance policy - to be used only in case of a deadly danger.

Aside from this exceptional use, using violence, is being in contradiction with one’s human values, humanity, faith, ethics, democratic principles, and one’s sense of justice. It is the case with using violence as a tool of domination by powerful people. Is is also the case with using it as a tool of expression for those who think they are not powerful.

 

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