What is physical violence?

We explain what physical violence is and how it distinguishes itself from psychological, verbal and sexual violence. In addition, definition and examples.

  1. What is physical violence?

For violence is meant a form of interaction that causes or threatens to cause damage of some other, either by subjecting, humiliation, physical or psychological damage.

In fact, according to the World Health Organization , violence is defined as “the intentional use of physical force and / or threats against oneself, another person, a group of people or a community, which has as a very probable consequence health risks, psychological damage or death ”.

Violence can be exercised in many ways , actively, through silences, or it can be part of self-defense, the only case in which it is tolerated or justified by morality and jurisprudence . Traditionally, the monopoly of violence, exercised through its agencies, is attributed to the State, with the exception of wars and other exceptions.

In that sense, physical violence is the form of violence that concerns the body and physical force : corporal punishment, capable of causing pain or even death, as well as traumatic and humiliating feelings.

Physical violence occurs when a person transgresses the body space of the other without their consent , either by subjecting them to blows, pulls or shoves, or by locking them in, causing physical injuries with some type of object (lethal or not), or forcing them to have Some kind of sex.


  1. Examples of physical violence

Some examples of physical violence can be:

  • Beatings, assaults with melee weapons, windings with vehicles or physical attacks of any kind.
  • Shooting with a firearm.
  • Rapes (non-consensual sexual acts), regardless of sex or sexual orientation of both victim and offender.
  • Physical punishment that infringes pain, bodily suffering or causes health discomfort.
  1. Psychological violence

Psychological violence includes a set of behaviors or behaviors destined to cause in others some kind of emotional or psychic suffering , constituting acts of true psychological aggression.

These acts, intentional or not, reduce the victim, violate their self-esteem or subject them to derision, humiliation or other forms of non-physical suffering, that is, without hurting the victim’s body. If it becomes recurrent, psychological violence can result in psychological abuse .

  • Active . For example, one person insults, decreases or aggravates emotionally and psychologically another.
  • Passive . For example, one person withdraws attention from the other, especially when he or she requires it, or subjects it to emotional abandonment.

In both cases, psychological violence can be an announcement of physical violence, especially in relationships or family relationships , whether it occurs as part of an untimely reaction or driven by alcohol or other substances.

  1. Verbal violence

psychological verbal physical violence
Verbal violence can be part of psychological violence.

Verbal violence is the name that the aggression receives to another person through language , that is, uttering profanity, obscene or insulting words, or referring to the other person in denigrating terms, aimed at lowering their self-esteem, humiliating or exposing them to third parties. .

It is often difficult to determine and discern from a simple conflict between two people, but becoming recurrent can result in verbal abuse , especially in a couple, family or work environment.

Verbal violence usually accompanies psychological violence and physical violence , but it may well occur without ever having physical contact, or emotional implications among people. For example, it is exercised when two strangers who are insulted from their respective cars after almost hitting each other.

  1. Sexual violence

When we talk about sexual violence, we mean sexual abuse, that is, non-consensual, forced or forced sexual relations to the other . It also applies to humiliating, humiliating or life- threatening sexual practices , even if they are carried out among consenting adults.

This type of violent actions can be carried out with the body itself or with objects. They can occur inside or outside an emotional or family relationship, and are usually accompanied by other forms of abuse, such as psychological, verbal and emotional.

Abuse of women or homosexuals or transgenders is also a form of sexual violence, which is usually accompanied by “corrective” violations (especially in the case of homosexuals) or humiliation, derision and other forms of emotional trauma. , Physical and psychological.

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