Violence is an act by which, through the use of force, a person or group is physically or mentally assaulted in order to impose a certain conduct.

Violence is used by many people, groups and institutions in order to achieve certain objectives. Either through physical or psychological force.

Violent acts are harmful and destructive, and are motivated by different negative feelings such as anger, hatred, envy, resentment or despair.

Types of violence

Establishing a single classification regarding the concept of violence is quite a complex task, since according to the author and the perspective in which it is looked at, several typologies are established.

In any case, we are going to see, explain and give some examples of the most relevant forms.

Violence according to the act

Depending on the act, we can distinguish the following three types of violence:

  • Physical violence: It is perhaps the most common violent act, for which the concept of violence comes to mind. It happens when a person hurts another physically, either with their own body or with material instruments such as a knife, a metal object or a firearm. They produce visible wounds in the person or animal that suffers it.
  • Psychological violence: It is another violent act, although perhaps less evident than the previous case. The one who exercises it, through insults or other types of verbal humiliation, causes psychological effects to those who suffer it. In some cases the effects of psychological or verbal violence are irreversible.
  • Sexual violence: It is the act of violence by which a person is attacked to have sexual relations without their consent. Every day it is known as rape. And it also usually involves physical and psychological violence.

Violence according to the field of action

Depending on the area in which the violence takes place, we can establish another classification:

  • Political violence: This type of violence is very common and is the engine that moves any State. It is carried out by state institutions against individuals or groups. It can be legitimate if it is supported by the legal framework, such as prison terms or the dissolution of a demonstration. But it can also be illegitimate if it is done without legal backing, such as state terrorism or illegal detentions.
  • Workplace violence: It is experienced if it takes place in the workplace, such as humiliation by colleagues or threats of dismissal by those responsible.
  • Child violence: It occurs when a child or minor receives any type of violence, regardless of the agent who carries it out or the area in which it takes place.
  • Racist violence: When the reasons for a violent act are led by racist tendencies. An example would be a beating of a group of a certain ethnic group over another for the mere fact of being different.
  • Religious violence: We speak of religious violence if the violent acts are motivated by religious reasons. We can find two subtypes, if it is carried out against another religion, such as the holy war or a crusade. Or the derivative of the interpretation of the texts themselves and that affects their followers, such as stoning in Islam, or the ancient Christian inquisition.

Triangle of violence

According to Johan Galtung, a sociologist and theorist on peace and social conflicts, there are three main types of violence, and they are represented graphically through a triangle. Direct violence, which would be within the visible, cultural violence and structural violence, both within invisible violence.

José María Tortosa is in charge of carrying out a broad classification of direct violence, which is what we refer to in this definition. It classifies them according to the agent and the recipient who star in it, these can be an individual, a group or a State. We are only going to give one example of each, but there is room for many more violent actions within each category.

  • If the violence is carried out by an individual, it can be applied against an individual, a group or a State. In the first case we would have a homicide. In the second a racist aggression. And in the last case individualist terrorism.
  • If the violence is carried out by a group. If it goes against an individual it can be a lynching, if it goes against a group it can be a civil war, and finally, against the State we would be facing guerrilla terrorism.
  • If the violent agent is the State. If it goes against an individual we would find the jail sentence. If you do it against a group, state terrorism. And if the violence is carried out against other States, we would be facing an international war.

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