One speaks of everyday violence when conflict-laden situations occur in everyday situations. It is a term that can be applied to numerous life situations. Everyday violence takes various forms and does not always manifest itself as violence. After all, derogatory words are also a form of violence, which in the long term lead to a strain on the psyche. Violence occurs at school, in offices, sports studios or in shopping malls. The potential for an altercation is possible at any time.
In the course of digitalization, new „spaces“ of violence have emerged that did not exist in the past. In this regard, neologisms have become established in the German-speaking world that are related to digital violence. Some of these are Anglicisms that have been adopted from the English-speaking world. In this regard, there are terms such as cyberbullying or cyberstalking. Everyday violence thus also exists in digital media. It can take place in social networks or in forums.
Everyday violence: consequences for society and health
Violence entails consequences, and in many ways. It can have a negative impact on the health of those affected as well as on the structure of society. Consequently, everyday violence is not just an individual problem. It is a problem for society as a whole, which has far-reaching consequences.
On the one hand, violence leads to health restrictions. In this respect, physical pain and injuries can remain. Physical violence involves blows or kicks. The degree of severity varies greatly. There is everyday violence that can lead to life-threatening injuries. Contrastingly, physical violence can be perpetrated without leaving visible injuries.
On the other hand, there is violence that has a negative impact on mental health. Physical and psychological violence go hand in hand. This is because physical injuries also lead to mental pain, which affects mental health. But even when everyday violence is limited solely to words, serious consequences can remain. Victims of bullying not infrequently develop depression or social anxiety that requires therapeutic treatment, depending on the severity.
Everyday violence has consequences for social coexistence. If negative behavior is tolerated, such as everyday racism, it can contribute to the brutalization of society. In the long term, it can fuel the spiral of violence in everyday life and lead to certain groups in society being excluded or feeling excluded. This results in further conflicts that can intensify. If two groups in society are hostile to each other, the risk of everyday violence increases.
Everyday violence: Influencing factors related to violence
The inhibition threshold for the use of violence depends on various factors. There are numerous influences that determine how prone a person is to violence. The family background or social milieu determines, among other things, what the attitude towards violence is. Parents are important attachment figures who exert an enormous influence on children’s social behavior.
In adolescence, the sphere of influence shifts. In the adolescent phase, processes of demarcation occur. As a result, new attachment figures are sought outside the family system. If the social environment is characterized by violent circles of people, there is an increased risk that this attitude will be transmitted.
A direct experience of violence can also result in victims themselves becoming perpetrators later on. If violence is inflicted on children by their parents, an emotional ballast is created. There is a danger that children themselves will use violence later on to get rid of the ballast.
A research team from the USA has made observations in this regard over a period of 30 years. This showed that parents who had experienced violence in childhood were more likely to have conflicts with the law. U.S. psychologist Cathy Spatz Widom of City University New York was instrumental in the studies. Still, researchers noted that it’s not a causal law. There are a variety of factors that have an influence, beyond one’s home.
Media consumption also matters when it comes to everyday violence. Whether it’s on a smartphone or on television, there are depictions of violence everywhere. Watching violent videos online is not subject to strict age controls. As a result, minors are also able to view depictions of violence. In addition, video computer games contain violent scenes that can have a negative impact on people’s social behavior.
According to one survey, 70% of respondents – aged 14 to 15 – said that close contacts consume computer games that glorify violence. Research suggests that violent media can cause children and adolescents to become numb. At the same time, there is a lack of relevant evidence that is empirically based and proves that media consumption actually makes people violent. For here, too, it is significant to put the facts in an overall context. In this regard, it is important to include other areas of influence.
Everyday violence: preventive measures – worth knowing at a glance
There are various proactive approaches to preventing everyday violence. Among other things, the topic is increasingly being addressed in the public media. This is intended to raise awareness and make society aware of the dangers. The dangers of digital violence in particular are often underestimated. This is why important educational work is needed to highlight the potential dangers.
There is now an official reporting office of the German government to report violence or incitement to hatred. The „respekt!“ reporting office checks public postings for legal compliance. If the criminal element of incitement of the people is fulfilled, criminal prosecution can be initiated.
Apart from this, there are preventive measures that are carried out locally, such as lectures. Here, the German Federal Police, among others, is involved under the motto „No more chance for bullies.“ This involves applying the Norwegian bullying prevention program, which has proven successful in the past. The aim is to identify violence at an early stage. This makes it possible to intervene and contain further late effects of violence. The police take the social environment into account in order to carry out their work efficiently.
Conclusion on the topic of everyday violence
Ultimately, violence in everyday life has many faces. It is an important issue that affects society as a whole. Everyone can contribute to curbing tolerance of violence. Educational work and civil courage are needed here to prevent violence from progressing. The same applies to violence perpetrated with the help of words. Defamation on the Internet and racist statements in social media are also a form of violence. It is important to react adequately in order to protect victims.