Characteristics of a ‘transforming violence’ approach
Transformative strategies work with the energy or passion of
violence, rather than opposing it or trying to eradicate it. For example, in the
martial art form Aikido, people are taught to redirect the energy of the
attacker to avoid harm to all parties — as opposed to other forms of self-defence
that teach how to repel the energy or to counter-attack.
With a transformative approach, surprising things happen.
- The passions of gang members are redirected toward community
leadership and career training.
- The trauma of children who have experienced torture, war and
genocide can begin to heal through their artwork, writing, and
- Children who are angry and afraid of school bullies are
invited to be creative in developing strategies for bringing bullies out of
isolation and into the world of friendship and respect.
- Former soldiers and paramilitaries are trained to work
together to solve community problems.
A ‘transformative’ approach will:
- encourage respect and openness to all points of view
- understand and validate the experiences, views and feelings
of people on all sides of a conflict
- create opportunities for behavioral and attitudinal change
- demonstrate faith in each person’s capacity to make a
contribution to the social good
- care for each person’s well-being regardless of their
behavior or role
- work with the complexity of violent situations, rather than
simply being opposed to violence
- seek to understand and address the roots of violence
- take a systems approach and seek to break the cycle of
- include self-reflection and self-transformation rather than
just trying to change others
- foster informed participation
- embrace diversity
- take risks to try something creative
- cultivate hope
- stimulate dialogue
- build community
- kindle the belief that change can happen and that the actions
of an individual or a group can make a difference.
Characteristics of a Transforming Approach
Some examples of