What is a victim?

A victim is someone who has suffered a loss, possibly having been harmed as a result of some accident, crime or other action. The loss they suffer may be physical, through some external injury to the body. The loss may also be mental or intellectual, perhaps through bullying or other verbal attack, or through a loss of reputation. Finally, victimhood may come from financial harm, such as through stealing, destruction of property, or a stock market crash. In common, a victim is “one who has no choice”.[1] 

All people are ‘victims’ to some degree, as we all have some exposure, whether limited or great, to grief and loss.

The misfortunes or poor treatment of victims can cause them to feel helpless, and isolated, and they grieve for their harm and the life they once led. Some may move on from their experiences, finding solace in hard work, individual betterment, or even spirituality and religion. Others may become depressed, obsess over their damaged lifestyle, or develop a victim mentality. The scars, physical or otherwise, may never fully heal; they bear the burden of their victimhood for the rest of their lives.

In many cases, the severity of the harm or injury may cause flow-on effects to a person’s family and wider society, who must learn to cope with the change and assist in the victim’s attempts to normalise their lifestyle. Community support, through compensation, and development programs, can help them to reconcile themselves to the injury they have suffered.

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