Violate is a verb that describes actions that show no respect for people, laws, property, and customs. Drivers violate the law when they fail to stop at red lights, and people violate your privacy when they eavesdrop on your personal conversations.
Violate comes from the Latin word violatus which means "to break," as in a promise or oath. As members of our society, we make unspoken promises — to follow all laws, to help people if we can, or at the very least, not hurt them. So when we violate — laws, property, people's abilities to live safe, peaceful lives — we break the promises that come with being lawful citizens.