Let’s be very very clear here: in order to cause any amount of harm to another person requires you to de-humanize them to some degree.
In my mind, any degree of de-humanizing is an act of violence.
So when we witness or perpetrate any act of harm we are choosing to see another as less than human and are the cause of violence.
We are all active participants in this and it buys right into separation rather than oneness. Often it stems from unconscious biases, which we have a resonant responsibility to root out and heal to the highest degree possible in this lifetime.
We are by nature programmed for this. The primal (or amygdala) portion of the brain will do everything in its power to keep us safe. This means that any perceived threat will cause a fight or flight reaction; hence the de-humanizing leading to violence. Do not use this as an excuse.
Society has also programmed us for de-humanizing, through patriarchy dating back centuries and the attempt by colonizers to eradicate POC, particularly black and indigenous in north america and around the world once we could no longer legally enslave them.
We are thinking, feeling and evolving beings with the capacity to change old programming and behaviors. It is, in fact, paramount to our survival as a species.
So today go inward and begin the long and worthy journey of facing all your violence. It is there, I promise you. You are violent to yourself all the fucking time in big and small ways and it leaks out from there. Do this work with urgency and deep compassion. Move through the inevitable guilt and shame as quickly as possible. Its usefulness is extremely limited.