Violence has many forms. Damage to property, street robbery, bag snatching, hold-ups, sexual offences, bodily injury and brawls are forms of violence. Violence is ruthless, inconsiderate action with or without weapons against children, women and men – so against all people. Enrichment does not have to be the only motive here, it could also be the desire to hurt or humiliate. But violence is also the needless destruction of someone else’s property. Unfortunately it is too often also a matter of destroying essential equipment such as telephones, fire extinguishers and rescue equipment.
Have you also thought about how you would react if you were suddenly confronted with a violent situation?
To ensure the conflict situation does not escalate, if possible, it is important to recognise this at an early stage. Just as you can detect dangers in good time and therefore avoid them with foresight in road traffic, it is possible at an early stage to avoid situations which may lead to aggression or violence. Feelings are often a «danger radar». People often notice instinctively that a threatening situation is approaching. Let your feelings guide you at such a moment (gut feeling). Recognised dangers are half-dangers.
- Do not let yourself be provoked: but do not provoke either. Do not take insults personally. Consider verbal attacks as a personal weakness of the person saying these.
- Set limits: indicate clearly and unambiguously that you do not want certain things, such as coming too close or touching. Address the person in question in a distant way so outsiders know that you are being harassed or threatened by an unknown person (in German with the polite form «Sie»). Make sure you avoid escalation: do not attack the other person physically or verbally. Always limit yourself to self-defence.
- Keep your distance: remain outside the reach of people so they cannot hit or kick you if they are being aggressive towards you or if you sense a danger from them.
- Ask other people to help actively: depending on the environment and situation address bystanders directly: «You, in the blue coat, please help me!»
- Nobody demands that you act the hero and that you stand in the way of physically stronger offenders. So call the police too soon rather than too late.
- There is no ideal and always effective behaviour in conflict situations. Basically you should always try to overcome them without using force, however. Use of force often arises from so-called escalation processes between culprits and victims, for example from mutual derogatory remarks.