I first heard the term Social Violence from Michael Bane of Down Range Radio. The term describes a form of violence that you are directly involved in or something you want to avoid at all costs.
Social Violence is violence being used to make a statement, prove a point, or just continue the discussion by non-verbal means (my definition). As a Marine, we used Social Violence all of the time. If two Marines couldn’t get along, into the ring they went and they could duke it out until they came to an understanding. As a Marine NCO, I put controls in place so no one seriously got hurt. It didn’t always work out that way, but we tried. And Marines don’t always do it behind closed doors.
Out in town at the bar where a lot military people go, violence is probably more common than you think. It’s a social violence between a couple people or two different groups of people. For some reason, Marines just don’t get along really well with other branches. It goes to shouting about who is the best and then eventually, when they can’t articulate themselves anymore, someone throws a punch.
This social violence isn’t limited to the military. Bar fights and fights inside other groups are generally social violence. They are simply using violence as a way of expressing themselves. And they may or may not hurt each other. I would also lump child abuse and spousal abuse into this category of violence.
This is a form of violence you don’t want to get involved in if you aren’t part of the group. If you try to “save” one of them, or get involved to “break it up,” chances are good that both will turn on you.
Try and break up two Marines that are fighting over a girl. They will both turn and knock you out and then go back to their fight. As a Marine, we couldn’t break up those fights unless we were part of their unit and they knew us. As a Sergeant, I didn’t get involved with two Marines fighting that I didn’t know. I know they will turn on me, and then go back to hitting each other.
The same thing happens when you try and break up a domestic dispute, even when the husband is hitting the wife hard enough to send her to the hospital. Once you step in, they will both turn on you.
If you see social violence happening in front of you, stay out! If you try to help or “break it up,” they both will turn on you.
Non-Social Violence is violence with a purpose other than expressing oneself (again, my definition). With non-social violence, there is generally a victim, aka someone that doesn’t want to be involved. If you help them, you will probably have someone thank you and only have to fight one person or group. A robbery, rape, assault would all fall into this category of violence.
Non-Social Violence is something you may want to help out with and there is actually less danger to you than with social violence.
As always, be careful getting involved with any type of violence. First, you might lose. Second, do you really know who the victim is? And third, what will it cost you even if you are right? My suggestion is that you don’t get involved with social violence past calling the police and being a good witness.