So, What is Violence?

Violence is any behavior that has the intent of hurting someone. Violence is stressful on our bodies. Chronic stress increases the chances of heart diseases, mental health issues, and increases the engagement of risky behaviors like alcohol and drug abuse. The health of a community can be affected by violent encounters because you do not need to have a personal connection to violence to feel the stress of it.

Examples of violence:

  • Hitting someone
  • Manipulating someone
  • Pressuring someone into sex
  • Saying mean things to someone

In a community, many factors contribute to violent acts and are affected by violent acts. These things include where people live, learn, work, and play.

For example: If someone’s neighborhood is unsafe, the members of that neighborhood are living in the daily consequences of that violence. Consequences might look like a reduction of physical activity due to a fear of being outside in the neighborhood.

Social norms, prejudices, and attitudes about violence provide a foundation for how the community thinks about violence in the places we live, learn, work, and play. Normalization of violence, especially in relationships, is encouraged by a social context that says violence is normal and okay.

For example: Your coworkers at work often make derogatory jokes about women and everyone laughs.

So… What Can We Do?

Preventing violence might sound incredibly hard and scary, but it CAN be prevented with help from the whole community!

1. Advocacy and Outreach

Advocacy gains public support while outreach gains involvement of community members.

Ways to get involved: volunteering, donating (financially or material goods), spreading awareness to issues, joining organizations, becoming an active member in your community

2. Risk reduction

Risk reduction reduces the chance of violence happening and lowers the severity of violence.

Tips: Travel in groups, increased lighting, security, avoiding drugs/alcohol, systems to safely report

3. Prevention Education

Prevention Education focuses on addressing the root causes of interpersonal violence, sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking.

Opportunity: Having educational classes for youth about healthy relationship skills such as how to ask for consent, what boundaries are, how to regulate emotions, etc.

Read more about preventing violence:

You as an individual can make change too! Speak up against inequalities in your community, be a voice to people who need one, and step into your role as a community member!

Learn 5 ways you can help prevent sexual violence in your community:


  • Grace Gellerup

    Grace (she/her) is currently finishing up her undergraduate degree at Texas State University where she studies Public Health with a minor in Psychology. Grace’s career goal is to become a community health worker, to advocate and help communities for better holistic healthcare. She is interning at HCWC with the Prevention Education Team to raise awareness and address the root causes of sexual violence and dating violence. Grace loves reading, her cat Slyvia Plath, the city of San Marcos, and the color green.