*Dr.N.V.S.SURYANARAYANA **NEELIMA VANGAPANDU ***GOTETI HIMABINDU ****T.TIRUPATI
Violence is the expression of physical or verbal force against self or other, compelling action against one’s will on pain of being hurt. Worldwide, violence is used as a tool of manipulation and also is an area of concern for law and culture which take attempts to suppress and stop it. The word violence covers a broad spectrum. It can vary from between a physical altercation between two beings where a slight injury may be the outcome to war and genocide where millions may die as a result.
“Violent behavior is defined as overt and intentional physically aggressive behavior against another person.”
“Criminological studies have traditionally ignored half the population: Women are largely invisible in both theoretical considerations and empirical studies. Since the 1970s, important feminist works have noted the way in which criminal transgressions by women occur in different contexts from those by men and how women experiences with the criminal justice system are influenced by gendered assumptions about appropriate male and female roles. Feminists have also highlighted the prevalence of violence against women, both at home and in public.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) in its first World Report on Violence and Health defined violence as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal development or deprivation.”
Violence can be classified into many types; there are direct violence, domestic violence, structural violence and cultural violence.
Structural violence is a term first used in the 1960s commonly ascribed to John Galtung. It refers to a form of violence based on the systematic ways in which a given social structure or social institution “kills people” by preventing them from meeting their basic needs. Institutionalized elitism, ethnocentrism, classism, racism, sexism, adultism, nationalism, heterosexism and ageism are just some examples of structural violence. Life spans are reduced when people are socially dominated, politically oppressed, or economically exploited. Structural violence and direct violence are highly interdependent. Structural violence inevitably produces conflict and often direct violence, including family violence, racial violence, hate crimes, terrorism, genocide, and war.
Structural violence, however, is almost always invisible, embedded in ubiquitous social structures, normalized by stable institutions and regular experience. Structural violence occurs whenever people are disadvantaged by political, legal, economic, or cultural traditions. But structural violence produces suffering and death as often as direct violence does, though damage is slower, more subtle, more common, and more difficult to repair. Structural violence is problematic in and of itself, but it is also dangerous because frequently leads to direct violence. The chronically oppressed are often, for logical the world is easily traced to structured inequalities.
Galtung’s general definition of violence forms the foundation of his typology of violence. He identifies three ‘types’ of violence — direct, structural and cultural. These concepts clarify ‘violence’ by broadening its definition, and creating categories that help us to study violence more systematically and deeply. The basic distinction between direct and structural violence is that direct violence involves an identifiable actor causing intentional harm, while structural violence does not structural violence is an indirect and, arguably, unintentional violence. In reference to structural violence, Galtung states that ‘violence is built into structures and shows up as unequal power and consequently as unequal life chances’. Structural violence is both an accompanier to and underlying cause of direct violence.6 Structural violence is found in most, if not all, structures in society — social, political and economic. It is not an accident, but rather the outcome of human action which generates these systems in the first instance.7 Structural violence is present as exploitation, poverty, misery, denial of basic needs and marginalisation all are types of inequality. In other words, inequality can be seen as structural violence.
Johan Galtung originally framed the term “structural violence” to mean any constraint on human potential caused by economic and political structures (1969). Unequal accesses to resources, to political power, to education, to health care, or to legal standing, are forms of structural violence.
Cultural violence’ refers to aspects of culture that can be used to justify or legitimize direct or structural violence, and may be exemplified by religion and ideology, language and art, empirical science and formal science.
Cultural violence makes direct and structural violence look or feel “right,” or at least not wrong, according to Galtung. The study of cultural violence highlights the way in which the act of direct violence and the fact of structural violence are legitimized and thus made acceptable in society. One mechanism of cultural violence is to change the “moral colour” of an act from “red/wrong” to “green/right,” or at least to “yellow/acceptable.”
The violence in structural violence is attributed to the specific organizations of society that injure or harm individuals or masses of individuals. Structural violence is visited upon all those whose social status denies them access to the fruits of scientific and social progress. Structural violence is embedded in the current world system. This form of violence, which is centered on apparently inequitable social arrangements, is not inevitable. Ending the global problem of structural violence will require actions that may seem unfeasible in the short term. To some this indicates that it may be easier to devote resources to minimizing the harmful impacts of structural violence.
Many structural violence’s, such as racism and sexism, have become such a common occurrence in society that they appear almost invisible. Despite this fact, sexism and racism have been the focus of intense cultural and political resistance for many decades. Significant reform has been accomplished, though the project remains incomplete.
Structural violence has affected health care availability in the sense that physicians need to pay attention to large-scale social forces (racism, gender inequality, classism, etc…) to often determine who falls ill and who will be given access to care. Structural violence is the result of policy and social structures, and change can only be a product of altering the processes that encourage structural violence in the first place.
Structural abuse is sexual, emotional or physical abuse, or that is imposed on an individual or group by a social or cultural system or authority. Structural abuse is indirect, and exploits the victim on an emotional, mental and psychological level. It could manifest itself through any situation within a cultural or social framework.
TYPES OF STRUCTURAL VIOLENCE:
Structural violence can be divided into several types. There are
Economic Structural Violence:
- Restrictions , e.g. road blocks, closure, control of roads, house curfew
- Unemployment & impoverishment
- Economic marginalization and exclusion
- Exploitation of water, land, people’s work
- Destruction of civil society & infrastructure
- No protection
Political Structural Violence:
- Military occupation
- Denial of self-determination, sovereignty, right of return
Cultural Structural Violence:
- Stereotyping of Palestinians, Arabs, women in the media, education, language
- Discrimination of women
- Imposition of other cultures and their value systems (e.g. patriarchal culture,
- Authoritarianism and glorification of militarism/the violence of the state and direct violence
- Destruction/shelling of cultural heritage sites, both archeological and architectural
Religious Structural Violence:
- Language (choosiness)
- Disunity among the churches
- Christian Zionism
- Demonization of Islam
- Negation of Arab and Middle Eastern Christians (e.g. pilgrimages without contact with local Christians, missionary movements.
Environmental Structural Violence:
- Confiscation & destruction of agricultural land
- Uprooting of trees
- Piroting & diversion of water resources
- Restrictions on water well drilling & water capture
- Dumping of solid & toxic waste in OPT
- Settlement sewage onto village lands
- Restrictions on movement & settler violence prevent farmers access to their lands
- Damaged infrastructure leads to public health problems such as no clean water and no refrigeration for vaccines
CAUSES OF STRUCTURAL VIOLENCE:
structural violence or poverty varies for different people living in different times and places. Increasingly, poor people’s own sense of the causes of poverty have come to shape our understanding of the forces that affect their lives, and their experiences have been reflected in the writings of Chambers (1983) and also the World Bank on poverty (World Bank 2000; Narayan et al. 2000)
Both Chambers and the Bank argue that a number of factors interlock to cause poverty. These are:
- lack of income and assets
- powerlessness and
The importance of income for poor people and, perhaps more importantly, its role as an instrument for obtaining things that people have reason to value, such as essential goods and services like food, medicine and education.
But the poor also lack what are known as assets: tangible and intangible goods, states of being and relationships upon which we all depend. We can divide assets into different categories (World Bank 2000):
- human assets, such as the capacity for basic labour, skills and good health
- natural assets, such as land and cattle
- physical assets including infrastructure like roads and water supplies and all kinds of household goods
- financial assets such as savings and access to credit
- social assets such as networks and contacts and reciprocal obligations that can be called on in time of need, and political influence over resources.
Vulnerability means that a person is susceptible to being affected by sudden change. Vulnerability can be triggered by outside events (such as economic crisis, floods, war or famine), or by personal crises (for example, sickness or becoming old and no longer able to work). At times of vulnerability people use coping strategies to deal with insecurity. They commonly draw on their assets such as selling a farmyard animal, sending an extra member of the household out to work or borrowing money to maintain consumption. Households and individuals may be able to deal with periods of vulnerability and eventually earn enough money to buy a couple of chickens to replace the ones they have sold, or pay off a loan. However, during longer periods of economic crisis, or for example, after the death of the household wage earner, assets might not be replaced and may be eaten up completely, making people more vulnerable and pushing them deeper into poverty.
Powerlessness is a common phenomenon amongst the poor. Because they have little bargaining power they have little or no ability to negotiate a decent income with employers; they must accept being thrown out of their property by landowners because they don’t have access to justice; and they must accept the demands of moneylenders for exorbitant interest payments, because they have no choice but to borrow and other forms of credit are unavailable.
Reducing structural violence by reclaiming neighborhoods, demanding social justice and living wages, providing prenatal care, alleviating sexism, organizing globally, while celebrating local cultures, and finding non-militaristic avenues to express our deepest spiritual motives, will be our most sure footed path to building lasting peace.
Christie, D. J., Wagner, R. V., & Winter, D. A. (Eds.). (2001). Peace, Conflict,
and Violence: Peace Psychology for the 21st Century. Englewood Cliffs, New
Johan Galtung, “Violence, Peace, and Peace Research,” Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 6, No. 3. (1969), pp. 167-191.
Kathleen Ho: “Structural Violence as a Human Rights Violation”, Essex Human Rights Review Vol. 4 No. 2, September 2007 (ISSN 1756-1957).