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HOME arrow Glossary arrow Violence
In the first World Report on Violence and Health (2002), the WHO defines 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, maldevelopment or deprivation."
Another definition stresses the victim’s perspective: “Interpersonal violence is every action of another person that causes me harm and of which I can assume that it should cause me harm or at least injuries are accepted with wilful blindness.” (from German pilot study “Violence against men”; BMFSFJ 2004: 16)
A very different meaning of violence is when the word is used to denote the use of (legal) political force, such as executed by a policy force or military force.
New perspectives on violence and protection: Current ideas on health promotion reflect the kind of process-orientated thinking that emphasizes pro-active strategies towards a desired goal (i.e., health, peace) above and beyond strategies to avoid undesirable outcomes (i.e., illness, disease, violence). For the field of health, this idea has been developed in the concept of “salutogenesis” by medical sociologist Aaron Antonovsky (1979, 1987). Criticising biomedical sciences and pathological approaches that usually look for causes of diseases and risk factors, he asked why people stay healthy. Adopting this approach for the field of protection, the concept of “paxogenesis” (Busche/Puchert/Schuck 2007) refuses to reproduce the binarism of living with violence and living without. Instead it suggests a multidimensional violence/peace continuum, taking into account that everybody has experiences with violence as well as without, and nobody is completely on the one side or on the other. Besides an analysis of risk factors, attention is called on supporting and protective factors, which can help to answer the question why people stay peaceful or unhurt in spite of present risk factors.

Antonovsky, A. (1979): Health, stress, and coping. New perspectives on mental and physical well-being, San Francisco
Antonovsky, A. (1987): Unraveling the mystery of health. How people manage stress and stay well, San Francisco
Busche, M., Puchert, R., Schuck (2007): Heralds of care and equality? The role of changing masculinities for protection against violence, to be published in forthcoming volume of: The journal of men’s studies, Harriman
WHO (2002): World report on violence and health, http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/en/
BMFSFJ (2004):  Gewalt gegen Männer (Violence against men). Personale Gewaltwiderfahrnisse von Männern in Deutschland, http://www.bmfsfj.de/Kategorien/Forschungsnetz/forschungsberichte,did=20558.html
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