Motivated by personal experiences with violence in El Salvador, noting a great disconnect between government and civil society in their work for peace, and observing steadily increasing rates of violence in the country, the author seeks deeper understanding of the violence through the eyes of the country's historically-marginalized civil society. Interviewing 59 members of Salvadoran society with a variety of experiences in peace work, she asks them to explain their understandings of the country’s violence. Synthesizing these concepts, the author offers a proposal for cultural transformation based on the lived experiences of civil society. The ideas presented here add valuable insight to the discourse regarding peace-building in El Salvador. Acknowledging that these voices represent only a fraction of the realities lived in the country, this study hopes to spur continued dialogue, collaboration and creativity in the peace process amongst all sectors of Salvadoran society. In a post scriptum, the author addresses the Salvadoran gang truce of March 2012, as well as how this study’s proposal can be used as a framework for analysis of this groundbreaking negotiation process.