Unreal

Initially, everything may seem unreal to victims of crime.

Unreal
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Initially, everything may seem unreal to victims of crime. We know that something happened but still we find it hard to believe. Many people feel a kind of emotional void and may have difficulties with remembering exactly what happened. It might be hard to discuss it and understand information provided. Then strong feelings may appear, for instance you may burst into cry, shock and anger towards the perpetrator. However, after some time, everything becomes clearer and it is easier to talk about the incident.

Nagging memories

Some victims continuously think of what happened to them.

Nagging memories
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Some victims continuously think of what happened to them. In the majority of cases those thoughts fade away over time. However, sometimes such memories stay with a person for a long time, since they are evoked by certain images, smells or other memories and may cause the same reactions as the crime itself. Those pictures can be vivid and strong, and we feel as if the crime happened again. Those recurring memories, called retrospections, can be very depressing. If a crime was reported to the police and the perpetrator was indicted, a long time may pass between the crime and a court proceeding. Many victims remain under pressure since then they have to remember events to be able to tell the court about them. If retrospections fade away after several months, it is important to seek help.

Uneasiness and difficulty to concentrate

Being a victim we may feel a sense of uneasiness and helplessness.

Uneasiness and difficulty to concentrate
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Being a victim we may feel a sense of uneasiness and helplessness. Frequently, our reactions are stronger when we try to remember what happened. The fear may cause irritation or difficulty to concentrate.

Sleep problems

Many victims encounter difficulty to fall asleep...

Sleep problems
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Many victims encounter difficulty to fall asleep, since when they lie in bed they think of what happened to them and even they eventually fall asleep, they suffer nightmares. Those people usually wake up several times during a night. Problems with falling asleep may cause exasperation.

Guilt

A sense of guilt is typical among victims...

Guilt
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A sense of guilt is typical among victims. ‘Why did it happen to me?’ is a question asked by so many people trying to explain reasons of a crime. Frequently, victims question their behaviour to avoid anything like that happening again. For example they may think:

• ‘If I hadn’t done that…’,
• ‘If I had done this instead…’,
• ‘I should have done…
It is important to remember that victims are never guilty of suffering a crime. The only person guiltyis the perpetrator.

Anger

Sometimes, victims may feel strong anger or even hatred to a perpetrator...

Anger
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Sometimes, victims may feel strong anger or even hatred to a perpetrator.
It frequently leads to thoughts about vengeance, which triggers reactions we have never encountered.
It is important to understand difference between a fantasy and reality but also not the feel guilty for having such thoughts. It is a perfectly normal reaction which usually disappears when we keep more distance towards what happened. Quite often victims deny or try to supress the memory of what happened to them. It is a way for them to cope with depression they feel as victims. Remembering what we tried to forget is a difficult process in itself and may take quite long. Thus, it is nothing unusual that people in crisis feel anger for a long time before they finally regain a sort of balance.

Fear

Many victims of crime encounter fear...

Fear
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Many victims of crime encounter fear. They might be afraid of going out, walk next to the place of the crime or stay alone at home. Many people are afraid of situations that remind them of circumstances of the crime. They may feel that the sense of safety is ruined and thus become suspicious towards other people. This may prevent them from living the way they used to live before.

Sudden mood swings, depression, fear

Some people suffer from sudden mood swings...

Sudden mood swings, depression, fear
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Some people suffer from sudden mood swings. One moment they feel perfectly normal and the next one they may fall into anger or burst crying. Those are normal reactions. They may also encounter various types of depression or fear.

Physical disorders

Sometimes psychological reactions to a crime may lead to physical problems...

Physical disorders
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Sometimes psychological reactions to a crime may lead to physical problems, e.g. problems with eating, chest pains, nausea, headaches, back and neck pains, stomach aches and excessive sweating.

Reactions among relatives

Sometimes victim’s relatives blame the person for what happened...

Reactions among relatives
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Sometimes victim’s relatives blame the person for what happened. This might be caused by fear they feel since someone close to them suffered and they think that it might have happened to them. Unfortunately, this may result in a victim blaming him/herself or feel ashamed. People blame victims subconsciously as a way of explaining why something happened.