Sample Essay On Trauma Of Victimization
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Crime is an act that is harmful not only to the victim but also to the state and the society to which the act has been done. A victim can be defined as the primary subject to which a criminal offense has been leveled against. Victimology is a study that concentrates on the issue of victimization. It also includes the study of the relationship that exists between the victim and the offenders, as well as the interaction with the criminal justice system (Meloy & Miller, 2011). The connection between the victim and the institutions and social group is also inclusive in this study. According to criminology or criminal law, a victim of crime is the person or individual who has experienced harm from the perpetrator of a crime. The results of criminal activities are diverse and how a victim will react to the criminal activity will depend on the magnitude of the harm that is done and the type of crime . Victimization is one of the issues that affect the victims of crime in the society today. In this essay, the primary concern will be to study victimization as a consequence that arises due to criminal activities. The essay will narrow down on the issue of a trauma of victimization and the attitude of the civil justice system and the society towards this impact.
Basis of victimization
Victimization is the process of becoming a victim of a crime that one did not participate in or he participated as the offender. The issue of victimization can be studied under the peer victimization, self-victimization, re-victimization, a self-image of victimization, offenders choice pre-traumatized victims and secondary victimization. All these classes of victimization result to trauma in one way or another when it comes to the victims who may be targeted by the offenders. The trauma of victimization can be said to be a direct reaction that a person may experience after the occurrence of a crime. The victims of crime suffer a tremendous amount of psychological, emotional and physical trauma. The primary injuries that the victims suffer can be broadly classified into financial, physical and emotional injuries. Secondary injuries are also present if the victims of crime do not receive the necessary support and intervention measure that would help him cope with the occurrence.
The physical injuries that the victims suffer can be bruises, cuts and broken legs and arms. The victims may also suffer from decreased or increased appetite, sleepless nights and also fatigue. The stress that the victims have increases their chances of experiencing problems later in their life. The victims or survivors suffer financially when their jewelry and money is taken away by the criminals. The medical insurance cover may not be able to pay for all expenses incurred and the funeral expenses which they may have to incur. The emotional injuries that the victim may undergo cause long-term and immediate reactions to the victims, their spouses, and even friends. Victimization may result in different results due to the personal level of violation and the state of the equilibrium the victim is in at the time of victimization. The victims of the non-violent crimes may not experience a high rate of trauma compared to the victim where the violence was used. The state of victims after the occurrence of a crime will solely depend on the method used by the offenders to commit their criminal activity. In the case of people experiencing stress and they are victimized, it leads to a more susceptible crisis reaction due to their current equilibrium status when the crime happened.
How victimization affects victims
Victim of criminal activities experiences various underlying reactions immediately or after a number of days when the criminal victimization occurs. Some of the responses that individuals may face due to the occurrence of criminal activities are a shock, denial, anger, disbelief, numbness and recovery. Shock and numbness are the first reactions that may face a victim, and they constitute the first stage of crisis reaction. The victims come face to face with situations that they are not able to control and as a result they may go into shock and become disoriented for a while due to the circumstance they have faced. The victims can experience flight syndrome, which is an automatic psychological response that individuals may never have control over. The reaction of the individual may be worsened by questioning them and leads to second injury on the victim and can cause emotional damage to the victim. The people who have the capabilities or are viewed as able to protect themselves from criminals be harmed more by questioning their response to the crime. Most of the cases, the physical and emotional paralysis occur where the victim is not able to report the crime to the relevant authority. The victim becomes lonely, feels vulnerable and confused since his senses have become invalidated due to the criminal offense done to him.
Denial, anger, and disbelief are the reactions that victims may experience due to criminal activity. The victims will always think that the action should not have happened to them, and this is even made worse by dreaming and having nightmares of the painful actions that have been done to them. The victims may even fantasize on how they could have caused harm to their offender. The anger they have can be directed to their spouses or even family members if they think how could have died if the offender could have done things differently. The victims face a number of emotional and stressful occurrences such as despair, self-pity, fear and guilt for not been able to do anything (Cook & Fox, 2011). The process of recovery is one of the most crucial processes that ensure that the victims can return to their previous status before the occurrence of the crime. The support for the victims during the initial stage of occurrence of the crime and the criminal justice system is essential in helping the victims to recover as soon as possible. The intervention of the experts who have gained knowledge of the various methods of support to victims is quite vital to the victims. The victim’s experiences are different, and the processes of recovery for the victims are extremely difficult. Recovery can take years or even days depending on the level of criminal activity faced by the victim.
Posttraumatic stress disorder and secondary injuries are the reactions or results of victimization that can be prevented by efficient interventions. PTSD is a complicated diagnosis that may face a victim is the right response measure is not taken. This disorder can be prevented if the victims receive the appropriate crisis intervention mechanism that would help them curb the effects of the trauma. All the stakeholders’ failure to recognize a crime and an offense may lead to the damage of the recovery process and even reduce the self-worth of the victim. This is due to the occurrence of secondary injuries on the victim.
Attitude of the formal Civil Justice System toward victimization
The victims' aim of going to the civil justice is to ensure that they get justice for the crime done against them. In the justice system, a victim is represented as the witness and the case becomes the offender versus the state. In doing this, the victim feels that he is been overshadowed it the case since he is the person who suffered physically, emotionally, psychologically and financially. In the case, instances of victim-blaming and victims-defending occur, and the victim may end up feeling that he is been victimized due to the offense done against him. Victim-blaming is where the attorney of the offender tries to prove that the crime had occurred due to the coercion the offender got from the victim. The aim of taking this direction is to ensure that the victim is blamed for the injustice done, or even the offender is set free or given a minimum sentence. Victim-defending comes with offender-blaming, and it entails the process of ensuring that the offender is solely to be blamed for his action.
In the event of all this happenings, the victim may develop a feeling that the justice system is not taking the issue seriously. If the victim takes this direction, then the process of recovering is hampered. The attorney of the victim can help in the recovery process by ensuring that the victim has a feeling of control over the case. The consultation with the victim keeping him informed about the case can used to ensure that the victim recovery is successful. In cases where the offender is declared innocent of the charges, the victim may never recover from the trauma and may lose interest in following the justice system at any particular time.
Attitudes of the public toward victimization
Victimization has acquired a negative response from the general public since the public views the victim as the person who led to the coerced the criminal activity. The public reaction to offenses done to victims has not been enough to ensure that the offenders are eliminated in the society. The idea of victims involved in increasing the rate of criminal activities has guided the public to defend the criminals even in the court of law. In the institutions like school and workplace, the victims of crime are the most affected especially if the offenders are more than one. The leaders or managers of the organizations have the responsibility of protecting the victim, but they get rid of the victim and leave the offenders. This decision of getting rid of the victim is to ensure that the focus is eliminated. This decision is taken due to the inability of the responsible people to punish the aggressors and not been able to face the situation head-on. The victims who have experienced an abuse end up been victimized and they suffer for the actions done to them by the offenders.
The criminal victimization can only be understood better if the society accepts the facts that criminal activities can happen to anyone hence knowledge that anyone can become a victim. The precautions that one may undertake can never be enough to ensure that a crime will not happen since crime is random and senseless. Understanding the consequences that face the victim due to criminal activities, is essential for ensuring that drastic action against offenders is necessary. The life of victims is turned upside down due to the occurrence of any crime. Educating those in contact with the victims and the survivors is vital since it will help in gaining the trust of the society and regain of self-worth. Adequate training will help in dealing with the aftermath of criminal activity and the trauma of victimization.
Averdijk, M. (2011). Reciprocal effects of victimization and routine activities. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 27(2), 125-149.
Cook, C. L., & Fox, K. A. (2011). Fear of property crimes: Examination of the effects of victimization, different victimization, and perceived risks. Violence and Victims, 26(5), 684-700.
Harris, M. J. (2009). Bullying, Rejection, and Peer Victimization: A Social Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective. New York: Springer Pub. Co.
Karmen, A. (2013). Crime victims: An introduction to victimology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Meloy, M. L., & Miller, S. L. (2011). The victimization of women: Laws, policy, and politics. New York: Oxford University Press.
Siegel, L. J. (2009). Criminology. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.
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