Violence is a very broad concept that encompasses not only physical behaviors aggressive, as is often thought, but also humiliation towards the other person, ridicule, insults, threats, etc.

That’s why there is not just one type of violence, but several. In this article we will learn about the 10 most important types of violence, according to two parameters: the type of manifestation and the scope of application. We will see what each of them consists of, and we will analyse their causes and consequences.

Types of violence, their causes and effects

According to how violence manifests itself, as well as according to its characteristics of presentation and typology, we find 6 main types of violence:

1. Physical violence

Physical violence is that which is exerted on another person’s body. The causes can be varied: low tolerance to frustration, aggressive personality, strong arguments, poor self-control, substance abuse (alcohol, drugs …), conduct disorders, personality disorders, etc..

The consequences are pain towards the other person, as well as damage or risk of producing it. Physical violence endangers physical integrity of the person on whom it is exercised. These are, for example, blows, kicks, pushes, etc.

2. Psychological violence

The second type of violence, psychological violence, consists of forms of verbal aggression; these are translated into actions, insults, behaviours, threats, humiliations, manipulation, isolation, discredit, etc. Causes emotional harm to the person receiving the violenceas well as disturbance in their personal development and/or self-esteem.

Causes vary: can occur in profiles of abusersfor example, or in people who at a given moment lose control, or who have acquired the habit of speaking badly to the other person through insults, and so on. The short- and long-term consequences for the recipient of this type of violence include: psychological trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insecurities, intense discomfort, anxiety, depression, etc.

3. Sexual violence

Sexual violence encompasses actions that violate the right of the other person to decide voluntarily whether or not to perform a sexual act. This type of violence can be with or without genital access, and can include sexual assault, sexual abuse and rape. It translates into forcing the victim to engage in some kind of sexual behavior.such as fellatio, intercourse, etc.

Often accompanied by threats and physical, verbal or psychological violence. It also includes threats, intimidation, etc., and can occur between strangers or between people who know each other (including within a relationship or marriage).

On the other hand, sexual violence also includes cases of forced prostitutionslavery, exploitation and sex trafficking. The causes vary widely; they can occur in people with some type of mental disorder, but also in “healthy” people (without mental disorder); they are usually multifactorial causes. The consequences of sexual violence for the victim include psychological trauma (e.g. PTSD), anxiety, depression, addictions, etc.

4. Economic and patrimonial violence

The next type of violence is economic and patrimonial. It’s about violence. aimed at causing deterioration in the economic or property resources of another person. It is used through the possession of the other person’s property, its subtraction, destruction, retention, etc.

It applies both to economic and physical assets (tangible) and to personal documents, property rights, etc.. The causes are multifactorialThis type of violence can occur in relationships “for the sake of convenience”, in toxic relationships, in the context of other types of violence, in criminals, etc. The consequences for those who receive this type of violence include evictions, economic ruin, etc., and its consequent consequences: malaise, depression, etc.

5. Symbolic violence

Symbolic violence is executed through stereotypesmessages, values, signs, symbols, etc. that are unequal and encourage discrimination of the person. They often subordinate or belittle the value of the other person within society (e.g. in gender-based violence against women).

Just like that, it is often a type of violence experienced especially by women. The causes, as in all cases, also vary greatly, and are related to other forms of violence, to the inheritance of a macho culture, etc.

6. Gender-based violence

Gender-based violence is a type of violence (physical, psychological, etc.) that is perpetrated against a person (or group of people) because they have a specific sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender or gender. However, this terminology is also used to refer to violence against womenbecause of its very high prevalence in world society.

The causes of gender violence “in general” are related to intolerance to difference, prejudices… and those of gender violence against women are fundamentally related to machismo.

Classes of violence

Classification according to the field of application

We have seen the different types of violence according to their different forms of manifestation; now we are going to see the 4 types of violence according to the field where this is applied:

1. Domestic violence

Domestic or intra-family violence is one who exercises a member of the family group to another member of the family (e.g. your partner); the requirement to consider you as such is that you have lived together previously (or now). By family group we mean a relationship of couple, marriage, kinship (by affinity or consanguinity), etc.. It can happen anywhere, it doesn’t have to be home.

The consequences imply damage to the dignity of the person, to his or her physical integrity, to his or her well-beingand translates into psychological, sexual and/or physical violence. Thus, it can include aggressions of all kinds. Domestic violence is often associated with violence against women, because it is the most common form of violence, but by domestic violence we mean violence against men and against women.

Institutional violence

This is a type of violence used by professionals, civil servants, agents of any public body or institution, etc., whose purpose is to obstruct, delay or prevent certain people from having access to their rights the law, as well as public policies. It also occurs more frequently against women, according to statistics. The causes are based on prejudices, stereotypes, a patriarchal culture, etc.

3. Workplace violence

Workplace violence is violence that discriminates against men or women in public or private work environments. The consequences are obstacles and difficulties for these people to have access to a job, to a promotion, to a hiring, to permanence in the job, etc.

An example of workplace violence is wage inequality between men and women (the so-called “wage gap”) for the benefit of men. Another example would be the systematic psychological abuse that can be done to a worker in order to leave the company (mobbing or harassment at work).

4. Media violence

Media violence involves the publication or dissemination of stereotyped images or messages through some mass media (e.g. television, the press, etc.). Consequences include promoting exploitation of men or women and their images; these people end up receiving insults, discrimination, defamations, humiliations, etc., for the content of these images or messages.

In the case of media violence against women, the cause remains machismo (as in most cases of violence against women).

Biblical References

  • Higonnet, E. (2007). “My Heart is Cut”: Sexual Violence by Rebels and Pro-government Forces in Côte D’Ivoire, Volume 19. Human Rights Watch. p.133.

  • Kilmartin, Christopher; Allison, Julie A. (2007). Men’s Violence Against Women: Theory, Research, and Activism. Routledge. p.278.

  • Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. Presidency of the Nation. (2009). Gender-based violence. Types and modalities of violence (Act No. 26,485).

  • WHO (2002). World Report on Violence and Health. Washington, DC: PAHO.