Why are people violent

Is violence something natural?

Many people believe that human beings are inherently violent and that, for this reason, wars, conflict and general violence are inevitable in our lives and societies. On the contrary, experts in this area claim that we can avoid violent thinking, feeling and acting. This is confirmed by the Seville Declaration on Violence, drawn up in 1986 by a group of students and scholars from many countries from North and South, East and West:

  1. “The assumption that humans have inherited warfare from their animal ancestors is scientifically unsustainable. ... Warfare is a specifically human phenomenon that cannot be found in other living beings. ...
  2. There are cultures in which no wars have been waged for centuries, as well as those that have regularly waged war at certain times and not at others. ...
  3. The assumption that war or other violent behavior is genetically preprogrammed in humans is not scientifically tenable. ...
  4. The assumption that the human brain is violent is not scientifically tenable ‘. ... Our behavior is shaped by experience in our environment and in the course of our socialization. "

Most people are conditioned to react aggressively or violently to their surroundings. It is learned early on to think, feel and act aggressively and sometimes violently. Wherever we live, we are exposed to social and cultural pressures that compel us to read, see, and hear about violence almost constantly. Television programming, advertising, newspapers, video games, and the film and music industries contribute significantly to this situation. Before reaching puberty, a child has already witnessed several thousand murders and acts of violence through television alone. Our modern societies are, consciously or unconsciously, an apology for violence. Violence is given a positive value. In most cultures, saying no to violence and avoiding physical violence or confrontation is considered a sign of weakness. Especially with men who are put under great pressure by their peers from an early age.

Do you agree that there is no justification for violence, even when it is used against the most violent people?

Bullying is a form of interpersonal violence among adolescents and adults. It is an example of how violence is used as a means to gain a sense of power by harming others. In a 2001 survey, almost half of Spanish high school students interviewed admitted that they knew about classmates who were intimidated by other classmates.

In addition to bullying, there are many other forms of interpersonal violence: alcohol and drug-related violence, gang violence, forced prostitution, slavery, violence in schools and racist violence - all of these are expressions of interpersonal violence that affect our lives or that of many others. Some of these forms of violence particularly affect young people - e.g. gang violence, school violence, racist and sexist violence.

Do you also think that a “real man” shouldn't shy away from violence?

Sexual violence against children and women is widespread in our societies and is mainly carried out by boys and men. There is also increasing awareness of sexual violence against boys. Contrary to popular belief, most cases take place at home or in private rooms rather than on the street. The perpetrators are very often known to the victims, it is mostly family members who abuse the trust placed in them. Many victims never report the act or only report it after many years. There are many very complex reasons for this, which, depending on the situation, can have to do with the person of the perpetrator, the type (duration and frequency) of the abuse, the personality of the victim, etc. It is also possible that the victims are too young or have no one to trust, or, as often happens to children, they may tell their story to someone who does not believe them; that they feel too embarrassed, guilty, and deceived; that they are threatened and manipulated by the perpetrator. *

* The editorial team has added relevant information for the German-speaking context to this edition and has marked these sections with an asterisk (*).