The Difference Between Social Violence And Asocial Violence

For anybody who is interested in real world self protection, it is helps to understand the difference between social violence and asocial violence, the motivation behind them and how to respond to them.

But first, what do they have in common?
The human predator is not unlike the animal predator; though motivation, environment and social circumstances may be very different. When the lions hunt, they don’t go out to look for a fight with the biggest, toughest most meaty (muscular) bull in the herd. They go out looking for the weak, the lame, the very young, the very old. Basically, they don’t want a fight, they want a kill. An easy kill!

If they get injured in a fight with a the big meaty (most delicious) bull in the herd; it means that they can’t hunt for several days, weeks, or maybe even months. During that time the hunting ability of the pride is impaired and they may have to go hungry. So as we look at the difference between social and asocial violence, we’ll also have a look at how this criteria to be able to “keep hunting” is superimposed over the other needs and goals of the human predator.

Social Violence

Social Violence is sometimes also known as confrontational violence. It is your bar-room/playground bully and often starts with something like that dreaded impolite enquiry, “who you looking at”. It’s called “social” because the bully often wants an audience so that he can show how tough he/she is or that he/she is the alpha male/female. The beating that they plan to give you is part of a spectator sport that they plan to be the star of!

Kevin O’Hagan with son Jake, World renowned teacher of reality based martial arts

However, it is the most predictable form of violence and can often be avoided if people keep their ego out of it. Just apologising (even though it’s not your fault) and complying with their demands can often defuse a situation.

There are sub categories of this, especially if you get into group violence. But for the sake of this post, I’ll keep it simple with a 1 on 1 scenario!

Now going back to how the lions hunt! Just as the lion does not look for a fight, it looks for an easy kill; so the bully does not look for a fight, they look for somebody to beat up (who won’t fight back to much). Also, just as an injured lion can’t hunt effectively, a beaten bully can’t pick on (hunt) others so effectively. Apart from any physically injuries, word gets around and they lose credibility in the eyes of the audience that they play to, making it more difficult for them to pick on the next person.

Sometimes backing down to them (however much it hurts the pride) gets the result and they will leave you alone.

Depending on circumstances assertive behaviour can sometimes be enough to make the bully lose confidence and back off. They will often walk away making threats, giving abuse, or simply gloating that their intended victim was too scared of to fight. But that’s just about saving face as they fear being put in a position that they can’t “hunt” again for a while.

Asocial Violence

Asocial violence is less prevalent than social violence. It is where the attacker (unlike the bar-room bully) does not want witnesses. This is the mugger, rapist, serial killer etc. The level of violence is potentially a lot higher and there are more legal implications involved, hence not wanting witnesses. It can also be known as ambush violence.

Whereas social violence normally has a build up with posturing and peacocking, asocial violence can sometimes have no build up at all. One second you’re minding your own business, next second somebody has struck you with a weapon or put a knife to your throat, etc., and your bloodstream is being flooded with a chemical cocktail of stress hormones (adrenalin, cortisol and the rest). There are 2 main sub divisions of asocial violence predators; resource predator and process predator.

Resource Predator: A resource predator is as the name suggests, after resources. This can be your money, your mobile phone, jewellery or any piece of property or possession they think you have on you at the time. Usually if you give them what they want, they won’t hurt you. It’s your money/property that they want, not you.

Going back to the lion analogy, what will stop them being able to hunt again in the near future?

Well one thing is a massive police hunt in the neighbourhood! There will be a much bigger police hunt if there’s a murder then there will be for a mugging where nobody gets hurt. They know this. The lion only has to consider the physical implications of it’s attack on it’s ability to hunt again, the human predator has to consider the social implications too. Therefore, usually they don’t want to hurt you if they get what they want. Note the emphasis on the word, usually! Especially in inner city areas where crime is rife, they may be more brazen if there is a lower chance of being caught.

However, if you say “no” to them, they don’t want word to get out that you just say “no” to the friendly neighbourhood mugger and they’ll go away. Fear is a tool of their trade and they rely of fear for compliance.

Process Predator: A process predator is the worst of all. This one enjoys the process of hurting others. This is the rapist, the torturer, the serial killer! Whereas the resource predator is usually an opportunist taking advantage of a situation that has suddenly presented itself; the process predator is more likely to be meticulous, stalking, observing, planning and striking when the time is right. When the process predator strikes there is often the big police hunt, which is why they have to be more prepared and pre-planned then the resource predator. They often want to take take their victim to a secondary location where there will be no witnesses, no one to hear any screams.

If they want to hunt again, they have to be very careful not leave any witnesses or forensic evidence!

Self Protection

Anybody who is serious about learning to protect themselves needs to know about these different types of violence and different predators. They also need to know the different tactics to deal with these different scenarios. Sparring gives you useful skills such as speed, timing and distancing. This may come in useful against social violence when there is usually some build up to the situation and warning that a situation is about to take of. Even then the distance, the outright hostility of the situation and the appropriate techniques to use are different.

However, against an ambush with no warning, either you’ve been struck from behind before you even knew you were under attack or a weapon has been pulled on you and the cocktail of stress hormones kicks in, you may have had a few drinks, not dressed appropriately (especially women); sparring skills will be of limited use. Sparring is training for a fair fight (sport). There is nothing fair about an ambush by a predator (resource or process).

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