Most people who encounter violence generally put themselves in the vicinity of violence. Whether it be a bad relationship compounded by some sort of substance abuse, or just being alcoholic/addict hanging at bars and clubs or "those" neighborhoods that are rough. (and we all know darn well if its a rough neighborhood, we're not stupid)
Where you live, How you live, Who is around you during the day and night... these are all indicators of your environment as to whether it is safe or not.
At one point in time I lived in Hollywood. I went to school there, but just doing the tourist thing and going up and down the boulavard I learned Day 1 that I was not in a safe place. I expected violence at every turn and thankfully I never found it. I was even there for the Rodney King Riot. I was not drawn up into the violence of the night due to the actions I took, but one block away a building was looted and burned to the ground. (I was never so glad to leave a place as I was when I left L.A.)
So, what do I think about the nature of violence? and how do I perceive it? The nature is that if you live in a way and in a place that would expect violence, then you will see it. I perceive violence as something that is easily avoided if you take just a few simple steps.
The other day on a similar thread, I saw an Aikidoka say he had studied Aikido for over 30 years and never once had to use it in a real fight. If you ask me, he's living a good life with good people around him. That's the best way to avoid violence all together.