The Resilience Of Victims

Victims' resilience

Resilience is something that we can apply in many situations. One such situation that deserves special attention is victimization, a subject studied by victimology. When we have been harmed as a result of a crime, and therefore are victims, we must claim our capacity to be resilient more than ever.

Once we have gone through a traumatic experience, such as personally experiencing a crime, it is best to find a way to live a normal life. But this is not always easy.

Researchers have therefore studied various methods or processes that help people overcome trauma. In other words, they were researching the resilience of victims.

What is victimology?

Authors differ on where this discipline fits. Some say it should be part of criminology. Criminology is a broader field that studies crime, offenders, and victims. It also examines the interaction between the above-mentioned parties and the context in which this all takes place.

Personally, I subscribe to this particular thought. However, there are also authors and experts who treat victimology as an independent branch.

Aside from this debate, there’s only one thing that really matters, and that’s that this field of study stems from the need to recognize the victim. The victim all too often forgotten.

Studying victims and victimization can prevent future criminal acts and help victims.

Sad woman who has been the victim of a traumatic event

The topic ‘originated’ in 1973 during the First International Symposium on Victimology in Jerusalem. This event consolidated victimology as a true scientific discipline.

One of the lines of research within the specialism is the ‘process of victimization’. This is, in fact, the transformation that leads one to be a victim or see oneself as a victim.

This phenomenon includes many factors and causes that determine the victim’s reaction. After all, the perception of a traumatic event is always an individual process.

The process will therefore never be the same for everyone. It depends on personal, social and cultural causes, etc.

The process of ‘victimizing’

Given its importance, resilience is a concept that has not been sufficiently studied. It is based on two fundamental ideas: resisting the incident and repairing oneself.

Some researchers, such as Janoff-Bulman, created a scale of items to determine whether a person was resilient or not. The items were a series of sentences or expressions for analyzing self-esteem and confrontational ability.

The person rated each sentence on a scale of one to five based on how strongly he or she agreed or disagreed with the sentence. From there, the researchers got a result that they considered related to the person’s resilience.

Daisies grow out of the rock, symbolizing the resilience of victims

Victims’ resilience

Victims’ resilience refers to their ability to overcome traumatic events. It is their ability not to allow the event to negatively impact their daily lives.

Different authors offer different definitions of or perspectives on the subject. We actually have two different schools of thought:

  • French authors relate the concept to post-traumatic growth. This phenomenon studies or analyzes the ability to learn and grow through negative experiences.

We can sum it up as ‘you live, you learn’. It would be a positive projection of a negative event. Basically, you take something negative and make it something positive.

  • Authors from the United States relate the concept to the process of coping. According to this view, the resilience of victims should rather be defined as the person’s return to his old life.

Victims can develop resilience. It is a skill that comes from a dynamic process. Researchers have examined the ‘origins’ of resilience and the possible factors that promote resilience.

Some personality traits promote the development of resilience, as do certain traits in our environment. However, the most important factor is our perception of ourselves. The more positive the perception, the greater our resilience.

A path in the forest

That by no means means that only resilient people can overcome traumatic events. But it helps. That’s why it’s important to keep researching this particular area.

We need to know which factors help to develop resilience. That way, we can find ways to encourage it and help victims of traumatic events overcome them with as little suffering as possible.

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