It took a year of strikes and grabs to wonder about it, huh? ;-)
As Chuck pointed out, intent is a major factor here. I think the problem is to some degree semantic: What do we mean by "violent"? Aikido IS a martial art; when de-escalation and simple evasion are not enough, it involves direct physical action. I would probably say that in this context, by "violent" we mean "aggressive." That aikido is primarily used for defense, though at times proactively, not as a tool to bully or oppress.
Does that help?