There are several consequences of victimization that are discussed in Daigle’s book. These are consequences that the victim did not ask for, but will have to live with the rest of the life anyways. Someone else decided that it did matter what happened to this fellow human being. Instead, all that mattered was the gratification of taking something from another, whether that be their innocence, property, their life, etc. Below, I will discuss each consequence provided by Daigle in Chapter 3. The first of the consequences discussed by Daigle is physical injury.
We are aware that physical injury is a very possible occurrence in the process of victimization. The extent of the physical injury is determined by the severity of the action taken against the victim. Injuries can range from slight scratches and bruises, to something like a gunshot wound. Of course, this means that they can also range from temporary and short-lived, to permanent. These permanent injuries can reap havoc on someone’s life. For example, someone who was shot in the back could be paralyzed from the neck down and never be able to shower on their own ever again.
Earlier in the class we read about the National Crime Victimization Survey. Daigle discusses that in 2006 it was found that a little over a quarter of assault victims received some sort of physical injury. It goes on to say that robbery victims are actually more likely to receive physical injuries, with thirty-five percent of robbery victims suffering from injuries sustained during the act. As we can see is the trend a lot in criminology, females receive more physical injuries than do males, but the difference is not all that large.
We see twenty-nine percent of female assault victims receive injuries, versus twenty-five percent of male assault victims. There is also a slight difference in amount of injuries based on race. Again, following trends, we see higher rates of injury in black victims rather than in white victims. Another factor that plays into the percentage rates of physical injuries is the relationship between the offender and the victim. In fact, if a person knows their assaulter, they are more likely to walk away with injuries than if they did not know their attacker.
Worst-case scenario is obviously death. The Uniform Crime Report shows that there is almost no difference between black and white individuals, but there seems to be more males than females murdered. Most of the homicides that the circumstances were known are shown to be from arguments, or began as domestic violence. Another consequence of victimization is the mental health consequences and costs. We know from experience that there are two ways of handling emotions. Some people like my fiance, choose to bottle up how they are feeling inside until one day, it explodes out.
Others like me choose to outwardly express their emotions. Anger, sadness and happiness are just a couple examples of the emotions that are almost always clearly displayed. This response to life is generated by several different factors: biological makeup, the environment that the person was raised in, their coping style, their resources, and the situation that they are in at the time. Victims of crimes often have one of three experiences, if not all three at once. The first is depression, but it is not always the crying with a blanket that you picture when you think about depression.
Depression can appear in several different ways, including sleep disturbances, or changing in eating habits, whether it is more or less. There can also be feelings of guilt or worthlessness, as well as irritability. The biggest sign of depression is often the lack of interest in anything else going on in the world. A person may often withdraw from the world, and show no motivation to even change their clothes. The second possible experience is a reduction in self-esteem. We see this more often with female victims.
Research has found that self-esteem in teenage girls is reduced when victimized by peers, and a reduction in self-worth occurs when their anxiety levels are elevated. These effects on a person are not always temporary. In fact, often times there are long term, permanent effects on a person’s self esteem, especially if they have been sexually victimized. The last response of victimization is elevated anxiety. People who struggle with anxiety are more likely to experience a range of different emotional and physical symptoms.
Anxiety is usually described as an irrational and excessive fear of everything, intense worry, tension, restlessness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. The physical symptoms are racing or beating heart, sweating, digestion issues, difficultly sleeping and breathing, as well as muscle tension. People with anxiety often describe a constant state of fatigue and total body soreness. One mental health consequence that is often talked about is post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. PTSD occurs when someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury to themselves or others.
In order for a person to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, a person must have felt intense fear, helplessness or horror in response to the event, and then later re-experienced the situation through flashbacks, nightmares, etc. Sometimes a person will be having a flashback and act out what they are “seeing”, unintentionally causing harm to another person. In order to prevent that from happening, the person must avoid any stimuli that might trigger the reaction. Often those with PTSD will experience a lack of interest in life, as well as hyperarousal.
Women are more likely than men to experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Although it is estimated that a quarter of all victims will experience PTSD, it is much higher in rape victims, at nearly thirty-five percent. Another well-known problem mental health consequence is self-blame and learned helplessness. There has been a large amount of research in this area, particularly with animals. Learned helplessness is commonly seen with severe anxiety. If we look at self-blame, a type is characterological self-blame, which happens when a person blames himself or herself because of something that they cannot change, like their character.
They convince themselves that they deserved what happened to them. Another type is behavioral self-blame, which is when someone blames what happened to them on their behavior. A thought comes to mind that future victimization will not occur if the person changes their behavior. Moving on, we can look at the economic costs of victimization. Economic costs can be the result of property loss, money spent on medical care after the act, time lost from work, school, work or housework, pain, suffering, and reduced quality of life, as well as legal costs.
The economic cost estimate from crimes in 2008 was $17,397 billion dollars, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey. We can break down economic loss into different categories. The first one is direct property loss. When looking at how much the property loss is, it will typically be estimated the value of the property that is either damaged, taken, and not recovered, as well as what the insurance claims and administration costs are. Unsurprisingly, the National Crime Victimization Survey estimates that ninety-four percent of property crimes resulted in economic loss.
On a lighter note, only eighteen percent of personal crime victimizations result in economic loss. Another category that we can look at is medical care. There are many victims that require medical care after being victimized. In fact, one third of victims have to go to the emergency room. The cost of medical expenses depends on the situation. For example, the medical costs for victims of child abuse are almost three and a half times higher than that of battered women. Earlier I used the example of someone becoming paralyzed after being shot.
It is estimated that violence related spinal cord injury could cost more than $600,000. This is a cost that was not expected, nor wanted, and it can really cripple a person and their family money-wise. A branch off of medical costs is mental health care costs. About ten to twenty percent of all mental health care costs in the United States are crime victimization related. Again, we can see here that costs are much higher for victims of child abuse than for any other group of victims. A fourth loss is losses in productivity. After people are victimized, they are not always able to work afterwards.
They may not be able to clean their own home, or even go to school. This can set people back, resulting in a loss of productivity. There are some groups that are more likely than others to lose productivity, including victims of intimate partner violence. This leads us into pain, suffering, and lost quality of life. This is most likely the biggest cost to people that become victimized. They may have to completely change their lives to work around what has happened to them, whether that is as simple as changing a phone number or having to pack up and move.
There are also system costs that a victim may acquire after victimization. There are attorney fees, and the other fees that are associated with going to court. Everyone who works within the court needs paid, and although the victim does not directly pay these, they experience that cost in the form of added fees. Victims are charged like crazy. I would like to know how it is fair that we take an innocent person and have them go through this traumatic experience, and then tell them that if they want to do anything about it, they are going to have to pay for it out of his or her own pocket. This seems absurd to me.