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The difference between conflict
and violence

  • In a conflict, two people argue to win their point. There may be anger on both sides, expressed through aggressive gestures or words.
  • The goal of a conflict is to make a Point and to convince the other person, but not at any cost. Both people are mainly focused on the problem to be solved. The reason for the conflict is clear.
  • Conflict is occasional, although the topic of discussion may come up again.
  • In a conflict, each person can express themselves freely. Although the conflict might seem negative at the time, the consequences are mostly positive in the long term.
  • The way each person behaves is related to the subject of the conflict. Both people can easily let go, acknowledge that they were wrong, and apologize if they have crossed the line.
  • The two people have an equal relationship before, during, and after the conflict. The role of each person can change from time to time, and either one can initiate the conflict.
  • Violence occurs when aggressive behaviour is intentional and strategic. Aggression can take different forms and vary from one time to the next.
  • The goal goes beyond the subject of the discussion. It is about having power over the other person and taking control. Violence is the means chosen to achieve this goal, at all costs.
  • Violence persists over time, happens repeatedly, and follows a cycle.
    The victim of violence does not feel able to express themselves and act freely. They fear the impact of doing so. The consequences of violence are only negative and persist for the medium and long term.
  • People who behave violently do not explain themselves. They justify themselves. They deny their actions, trivialize them, and blame the victim. Or they use excuses to avoid responsibility and put the blame elsewhere.
  • The relationship between the two people is unequal. One has all the power and the other must submit. The roles are always the same; it is always the same person who is subjected to the violent behaviour of the other.