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The effects of Crime victimization in Bangladesh

Putwain and Sammons (2002), in their book Psychology and Crime, noted that, “It is almost inevitable that a person will experience some degree of distress as a result of being victimized, especially if the crime is a violent one. Kahn (1984) identifies a large number of possible responses to victimization including depression, anxiety, paranoia, shock and anger. Davis and Friedman (1985) found that 75 percent of a sample of burglary victims reported psychological symptoms including anxiety and disturbed sleep, three weeks after the offence. Not surprisingly, one of the main determinants of a victim’s reaction is the seriousness of the crime. However, it should be noted that people vary in the extent to which they are adversely affected by victimization. Two important variables which affect how a person will be affected by victimization are belief in a just world and locus of control.Belief in a just world: Whilst some people may consider that victims of crime are just ‘unlucky’, others may believe that, if precautions are taken, one need never become a victim. Lerner (1970) calls the belief that the world is a fair place in which people generally deserve the things that happen to them the just world hypothesis. The extent of a person’s belief in a just world can affect how they view victims of crime and how they cope with victimization themselves. Those who believe in a just world may benefit from doing so by avoiding anxiety about being victimized themselves. They may reason that, since people generally get what they deserve, anyone who has taken the appropriate precautions will never be victimized. However, people with strong belief in a just world are likely to be hit harder by victimization than a person who believes they have taken every possible precaution and hence were invulnerable. Belief in just world can also affect how victims of crime are perceived in a judicial context.

Locus of control: Personality variables also affect how a person adjusts to the experience of victimization. One important personality variable is locus of control, or the extent to which a person believes they are in charge of their own destiny. Individuals with an internal locus of control tend to believe that the things which happen to them are largely the result of their own actions, whereas those with an external locus of control tend to see themselves as victims of circumstance. It should be noted that locus of control represent a continuum of beliefs rather than two distinct types of people: a person may be strongly internal, strongly external or somewhere in between. People with a strongly internal locus of control are likely to respond more negatively to the experience of victimization, presumably for the same reasons that people who believe in a just world are more affected. However, those with strongly internal locus of control are more likely to take steps following victimization to avoid being affected by crime again. People with a strongly external locus of control are less likely to believe that any action they take will make a difference to what happens to them in the future.”