ABSTRACT

The varied psychological phenomena that are associated with the experience of being a victim of violence are discussed in this chapter, and some of society’s more typical responses to victims are described. When a person becomes a victim of violence, he or she is psychologically “bombarded” by the acute reality of his or her own frailty, the seeming randomness of life events, and the inevitability of death. Most people arrive at such a crossroad unsuspecting and unprepared. The experiences of few persons will have left them ready for the role of victim in a violent crime. Few, if any, are capable of facing the enormity of such an event without considerable support from others.