Victims of Crime - The Trauma Of Being Victimized
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Becoming a crime victim can have serious consequences—outcomes the victim neither asks for nor deserves. A victim rarely expects to be victimized and seldom knows where to turn. Victims may end up in the hospital to be treated and released, or they may be confined to bed for days, weeks, or longer. Injuries may be temporary, or they may be permanent and forever change the way the victim lives. Victims may lose money or property, or they may even lose their lives—the ultimate cost for which a victim and his or her family can never be repaid.
The effects of crime are not limited to the victim. Families as well as victims may experience feelings of fear, anger, shame, self-blame, helplessness, and depression—emotions that can scar life and health for years after the event. Those who were attacked in their homes or whose homes were entered may no longer feel secure anywhere. They often blame themselves, feeling that they could have handled themselves better, or done something different to prevent being victimized.
In the aftermath of crime, when victims most need support and comfort, there is often no one available who understands. Parents or spouses may be dealing with their own feelings of anger or guilt for not being able to protect their loved ones. Friends may withdraw, not knowing what to say or do. As a result victims may lose their sense of self-esteem and no longer trust other people.