Common Reactions to Victimization
Regardless of the type of crime, most victims tend to experience similar reactions. These reactions may include physical, emotional, and behavioral signs of the stress reaction. Some common reactions may include, but are not limited to:
- sleep and eating difficulties
- dreams, flashbacks, nightmares
- physical agitation – jumpiness, shaking
- extreme fatigue or high energy
- increased clumsiness or accidents
- increased susceptibility to illness
- uncontrollable and/or sudden crying
- anger, outrage
- fear, terror, loss of trust
- confusion, frustration
- feeling guilty, self-blame, self-doubt
- euphoria, thankfulness
- sadness, sorrow
- denial or minimization
- change in relationships or lifestyle
- determination to make changes in the justice system or the community
Sugested Coping Techniques
Most people have found ways to manage stress. However, victims of crime are sometimes overwhelmed by the intensity and duration of their stress reactions. The following list offers some suggested coping strategies that may help individuals to begin to manage and work through the stress.
- Acknowledge and accept that it was a traumatic event that will take time to process.
- Talk with trusted people who will accept and not judge your reactions.
- Allow yourself time to think about the crime and time to not think about it.
- Keep a journal or diary.
- Exercise, eat well and rest.
- Remember that it is okay to laugh and smile again.
- Learn more about victimization and the stress reaction.
- Participate in counseling or join a support group.
- Be patient with yourself and others.
- Let others know what is and what is not helpful.