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Victimization may occur at occasions. For example, it may be manifested in a relationship between offenders and the victims. Victimization can also occur when there is an interaction between the victim and the criminal justice system. This is resolved by the courts, the police officers and the correctional officials.
It may also occur if the victims interact with other social groups or within institutions. These include the business world, the media or social movements. The study of victimization may not necessarily deal with the victims of crime alone. However, it might cut across to all other forms of human rights violation.
There are several forms of victimization and they include peer victimization, secondary victimization, revictimisation and self-victimisation (Hawker & Boulton, 2000). Children may become victims of their fellow children. In most cases, the victims are the targets of the aggressive behaviour of their counterparts.
When this occurs, it is referred to peer victimization. Interest in this particular form of victimization arose in the 1990s. This is because there were increased cases of school shooting, suicides and peer beatings. This prompted research to be done in order to investigate the bully-victim relationship.
Research showed that there were several negative outcomes that came about peer victimization. They included low school engagement, depression, low self-esteem, school avoidance and low school achievement among several other effects. Research further proves that the effect of peer victimization is especially prevalent in the middle schools (seeley, Tombari, Bennett, & Dunkle, 2009).
This is the case mainly because the children are trying to create self-schemas and developing self-esteem. It is during this stage that the children will greatly impact their adult lives. This is the reason why researchers are particularly focused on this age group.
Seely, Tombari, Bennett and Dunkle (2009) identified two strands of research that characterised peer victimization. They included the peer relationship strand and the bullying strand. The bullying strand looks at what forces the victims to stop going to school and suffer from its effects as other students adjust. The peer relationship strand, on the other hand, studies the major factors related to peer victimization and the results of it. It focuses on the mediating factors.
Secondary victimisation may also be referred to as a double victimization or post crime victimization. This is whereby the victims undergo further victimization after encountering a victimization. This may occur when victim’s blame is done. Medical personnel or other persons may also show inappropriate post-assault behaviour towards the victim. This may cause more suffering to the victim. Secondary victimization may also be exercised by the personnel in the justice system. This may cause the victims to lose time or suffer due to the low income that is formed because of the reduction.
Examples of persons who suffer double victimization include the rape victims. This is especially the case in cultures that consider certain sexual experiences as a taboo. Virgins who suffer rape may suffer further due to the misconception that they are damaged and no longer pure. Such victims may be isolated from society or may even lack any family and friends. Some cultures do not allow such victims to get marry and in case they are married, such women are forced to divorce.
Victims of crime usually suffer the consequences of the crime. This could be in a form of emotional distress. Research shows that most of the victims of crime suffer psychological problems (Sebba, 1996). These include feelings of shame, nervousness, anxiety, self-blame, anger and fear.
Such victims may also have trouble sleeping. In this respect, the chronic post-traumatic stress disorder may occur. Victims of crime may also suffer stress after the crime especially when it comes at a time when the individual has already had emotional problems. The victims may show different psychological reactions. Firstly, they may view themselves negatively (Sebba, 1996). They may also have difficulties in conceiving the meaning of the world. In addition, they may increasingly believe that they are vulnerable.
Revictimisation is a phenomenon that may be experienced by victims of a crime (Finkelhor, Ormrod, & Turner, 2007). In this respect, the victims of a crime or abuse have a higher chance of undergoing victimization again. This can occur shortly after or at a later date in the adulthood stage of a child’s life.
This trend has been noticed especially when it comes to victims of sexual abuse. Studies show that the rate of victimization for people who have previously suffered sexual abuse is very high (Messman & Long, 1996). Furthermore, the revictimisation in the adulthood stage has not only sexual grounds but also happens in a form of physical abuse.
Revictimisation occurs for different reasons. When it occurs in the short run, it is usually due to the fact that the risk factors have not been mitigated. This means that when victimization occurs, the factors that led or contributed to the victimization should be changed or mitigated in order to avoid the same thing from recurring.
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However, in some cases, the victim may not be in a position to control such factors. Risk factors may include having unstable relations within the family, drug addiction, dipsomania, inhabiting dangerous areas, having a high temper and unemployment.
When children undergo revictimisation in their adulthood lives, this becomes more complex. Research has shown that such individuals undergo some maladaptive form of learning. This usually occurs when the adult comes to believe and accepts abusive behaviour as normal.
In such occasions, the victims accept the behaviour and continue to become victims of it. They also expect such behaviour from other people. Such individuals unconsciously end up with abusive partners and are usually reluctant in getting away from abusive relationships.
Victimization may also occur at the workplace. This may be in the form of workplace bullying. This is whereby employees use aggressive or unreasonable behaviour towards their workmates. This may be in a form of verbal abuse, humiliation, physical abuse or other nonverbal abuse. Such behaviour may cause stress to the victims. Such victims are also usually prone to revictimisation since they usually appear weaker. The persistent victimization at the workplace may lead to employee’s burnout and decrease the productivity.
Victimization is the act of being made a victim. It may occur in different ways but all forms lead to negative effects. Victims of crime usually undergo the emotional distress. Most victims suffer common problems that include fear, shame, anger, nervousness and anxiety.
These issues may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Post crime victimization may also occur and this further adds problems to the victim since those who are supposed to help the victim’s recovery only add insult to the injury. Revictimisation usually occurs when the factors that have led to the initial victimization are not changed. Victimization is a serious issue that requires attention since it shapes the lives of the victim into their adulthood.
Finkelhor, D., Ormrod, K., & Turner, A. (2007). Re-victimization patterns in a national longitudinal sample of children and youth. Child Abuse Negl, 31(5), 479–502.
Hawker, D.S.J., & Boulton, M.J. (2000). Twenty years’ research on peer victimization and psychosocial maladjustment: a meta-analytic review of cross-sectional studies. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41(4), 441-455.
Messman, L., Long, J. (1996). Child Sexual Abuse and its Relationship to Revictimization in Adult Women. Clinical Psychology Review, 16 (5), 397–420.
Sebba, L., (1996). Third Parties, Victims and the Criminal Justice System. Ohio State University Press, Columbus.
Seeley, K., Tombari, M. L., Bennett, L. J., & Dunkle, J. B. (2009). Peer Victimization in Schools: A Set of Quantitative and Qualitative Studies of the Connections Among Peer Victimization, School Engagement, Truancy, School Achievement, and Other Outcomes. National Center for School Engagement, 1(1), 13-46.