Violence: Learn to Recognize Them

There are many forms and types of violence. It is vital to be aware of these forms and types of violence to help reduce violence against women and children.

3 Forms of Violence

1. Direct violence is visible. It is physically harming another person and threatens life itself. It also diminishes a person’s capacity to meet basic needs. Direct violence includes torture, domestic violence, sexual assault, killing, maiming, and so forth.

2. Structural violence is invisible. Structural violence represents the systematic ways that some groups of people do not have equal access to opportunities, goods, and services to fulfill their basic needs. Examples of structural violence include poverty, economic justice issues, limited access to education, and gender inequality.

3. Cultural violence is invisible. It represents the existence of prevailing or prominent social norms that justified direct and structural violence. Cultural violence can take the form of stories, songs, language use, aspects of religions or traditions, assumptions, or stereotypes.

These forms of violence are interrelated and mutually reinforcing.

5 Types of Violence and Abuse

  • Physical violence is an act attempting to cause, or resulting in, pain and/or physical injury. It can be indirect physically harmful behavior or a threat to physical abuse. Physical violence includes hitting, kicking, biting, slapping, shaking, pushing, pulling, punching, choking, beating, scratching, pinching, pulling hair, stabbing, shooting, drowning, burning, hitting with an object, threatening with a weapon, or threatening to physically assault.
  • Sexual violence happens when a person is forced to unwillingly take part in sexual activity. It may involve both verbal and physical behavior. A person might have consented to sexual activity in the past, but it does not indicate current consent. Sexual violence includes unwanted touching, rape, sodomy, coerced nudity, and sexually explicit photographing.
  • Psychological violence occurs when someone uses threats and causes fear in an individual as a means to gain control over that person. All form of violence has a psychological aspect as the main goal of being violent or abusive is to hurt the integrity and dignity of another person. Examples of psychological violence include confinement, constantly criticizing the other person, belittling the other person, distorting reality to alter the other person’s perception of it, making the other person doubt themselves, and manipulating the other person’s emotions.
  • Neglect happens when a person, who has a duty to care for you, fails to provide you with your basic needs. This can include not providing proper food or warm clothing, failing to provide adequate health care, medication, and personal hygiene, failing to prevent physical harm, and failing to ensure proper supervision.
  • Verbal abuse occurs when spoken or written language is used to harm another person. It is any abusive language used to denigrate, embarrass or threaten a person. It is used to intimidate, humiliate or control a person or a group of people. Verbal abuse can occur in all types of interactions (between strangers, neighbors, colleagues, friends, spouses, or partners) and in all types of relationships of authority (boss-employee, teacher-student, coach-athlete). This form of violence can be a forerunner to physical violence. Examples include sarcasm, insults, demeaning or humiliating remarks, shouting, giving orders, threatening to hurt or kill, and name-calling.

These types of violence and abuse can be commonly found in violence against children. If you see or suspect violence against women and children, call 1300 or contact us for help.

– Wanwarin Yensuk


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