When thinking or reading about violence, most people conjure up the picture of a distinctive act being performed by the perpetrator of violence, with destructive or harmful consequences for the victim; a mugging, a rape, or flying an airplane into a tall building. For example, when reading the following passage from Glover’s (2001, 120) account of one of the many genocidal massacres in Rwanda in 1994, the act of violence that comes to mind is the dismembering of a fellow human being by machete blows: ‘A massacre at Kibeho was seen by a schoolgirl, Yvette. She saw many brutal killings, including a baby killed with a machete and thrown down the toilet. Yvette received two blows which nearly killed her. Later she was interrogated, beaten, raped and made pregnant’.
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