If someone is trying to hurt you, you DO want to force your will upon them to make them stop.
Do you? That's a personal decision, and there are countless examples of where people rationally chose to NOT stop someone who was hurting them. The demonstrations of Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. come to mind.
Even if you do accept that definition for violence, it's just common sense that aikido techniques are less violent than smashing your attacker in the face, intentionally breaking his arm, or using pepper spray or a gun.
I disagree, based on the understanding of the laws of the state in which I live (laws in MO may differ). OC (pepper spray) is non-injurious. So it would be preferred for a civilian to use OC before using any physical technique.
I further disagree based on common sense. OC: requires much less training to use effectively, allows for greater distance (and thus greatly reduces the chance I will be injured), has a large body of evidence that attests to it's effectiveness, and causes no lasting injury. Additionally, some brands of OC contain a UV dye allowing for positive indentification after the incident. Finally, if OC does not deter the attack, there is strong legal evidence for moving up the force continuum.
If aikido techniques are so "safe", why is so much time spent is teaching ukemi? Why the concern with breakfalls?