Violence is universally defined as the deliberate application of force, usually physical, against oneself, other people or a group of people, which causes physical harm or severe injury that may consequently lead to death. The act has to be intentional in spite of any of the premeditated outcomes. Any activity that presents injurious risk is depicted as violent.
Unfortunately, violence is not only present in my community but also globally. It is the cause of death for a little over 1.5 million people in a year (WHO, 2002). Theses violent acts range from suicides, homicides, wars, domestic violence, wars and many other forms of conflict. These conflicts produce hundreds of casualties, most of who succumb to their injuries. Those who are lucky enough to survive do so barely, and live to nurse serious wounds such as the loss of their limbs or loss of use of a severely injured body parts notwithstanding the psychological harm that they may have incurred. This typically results in retarded physical or mental development which is not only detrimental to one’s personal growth but also that of the entire community and the whole nation at large.
Violence exists in three main forms; self-directed violence, interpersonal violence and collective violence (World Health Organization, 2002); stemming from the nature of the acts being committed and the party that executes said acts. Self-directed violence occurs when one person engages in acts that are likely to result in harm to oneself. Such acts include self-mutilation, self-abuse, neglect and suicidal thoughts and attempts. Interpersonal violence is the infliction of harm by one person to another, one person to a group or one group to another group. Collective violence is a broad category that includes the infliction of harm by larger groups such as a state, militia, outlawed sects, and terrorist gangs. The motives are either political or economic, and are usually committed to advance an explicit cause by the faction causing harm. Hate crimes, terrorist acts and mob justice, attacks on economic activities or those geared to disrupt them, deprivation of vital services, economic disintegration and economic partitioning are excellent examples. The nature of these crimes might be sexual, physical, psychological or deprecatory. War is the prolonged state of large scale violence, usually among states or governments. War is usually lethal, and results in a large amount of casualties. Violence also includes the use of threats or intimidation and neglect, which usually occurs in a supremacy related association.
The consequences of infliction of violence are many. Save for the physical harm inflicted, violent acts result in dire consequences for all the social systems involved. Violence against women, children or the elderly affects the entire community and its well-being. These effects are either latent or immediate and can last for a prolonged period of time after the violent incident.
Violence among partners is also a common form of violence in my community. It usually involves sexual or physical forms caused by one partner to the other. This is a form of domestic violence and it is the most rampant source of sexual abuse. It has the most serious psychological consequences; it causes sexual and reproductive health harm for the victims that may include unplanned pregnancies and transmission of S.T.Is. Mental damage incurred may result in depression and post-traumatic stress disorders (World Health Organization, 2002.)
Our only saving grace is the fact that these forms of violence can easily be prevented. Through the in depth study of its various typology, solutions to the prevention of violent attacks have been proposed. The reasons that accelerate conflicts that inflict harm can be molded; poverty can be reduced, gender inequality can be corrected, use of alcohol and other substances can be curtailed, nurturing environments for children and the elderly can also be created by communities. Wars can be prevented through mediation and peace talks and through creation of economic and political stability. Current research has been geared to concentrate on fundamental roots of violent acts, thus actively contributing to prevention of violence and its consequent outcomes.
Butchart A. Kahane, T Phinney Harvey, Furniss T (2006). “Preventing Child Maltreatment: a guide to taking action and generating evidence. Geneva WHO and International Society For the prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.
“Global Burden of Disease”(2012). World Health Organization.
WHO/ Liverpool JMU Center for Public Health “Violence Prevention (2010): The Evidence” 2010.
Review of book ‘War before Civilization’ by Lawrence H. Keely July
World Report on violence and Health (2002). World Health Organization.
World Report on violence and Health. World Health Organisation 2002.
Butchart A. Kahane, T Phinney Harvey, Furniss T. “Preventing Child Maltreatment: a guide to taking action and generating evidence. Geneva WHO and International Society For the prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, 2006.
Review of book ‘War before Civilization’ by Lawrence H. Keely July 2004.