„Violence is present when people are influenced in a way that their current somatic and mental realization is lesser than their potential realization. Violence is what widens the gap between potential and relevant or what makes it harder to lessen this gap." [1]
(Johan Galtung, 1975)

Johan Galtung was a Norwegian mathemician, sociologist and political theorist and founding father of peace and conflict management (*1930). He defines violence as forces which hinder (groups of) people from developing their potential. Violence can happen on a personal, structural as well as on a cultural level. [1] [2] [3]

Personal violence happens in interpersonal interaction, such as relationships, working life or in the family. Structural violence happens when (groups of) people are deliberately restricted or discriminated on a political level. Cultural forms of violence are limiting values and traditions which restrict people's life due to rules and norms. [2] [3]

Violence may find its expression in a physical, emotional or sexual way. Thus, derogatory words, mobbing or teasing are also a form of violence just like a punch in the face, harassment or rape. [4] [5] [6]

Violence has accompanied human beings since the beginning of history. Our ancestors have succesfully stood up to against wild animals and competitors and thus ensured their survival. Nowadays, the dealings with violence is established by law, but there are also individual limits concerning the use of force and its tolerance. It's worth striving for a nonviolent world. This can start on a personal level insofar as everyone acts peacefully so that in a society every individual can develop one's full potential.


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