The Impact of Crime on Victims - Assault

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ilbey Ucar PhD (Psychology)

Last updated date : January 26, 2023

All of us have a right to our bodies. In other words, we do not like those who are unnecessarily touchy or give funny looks at us. This is a personal freedom everybody understands, and everyone should respect. Therefore, when these rights are being violated, and we are hurt or assaulted, it greatly impacts our physical health as well as our mentality. Everybody reacts differently to violations as well as physical assault. There are many reasons that assault crimes can impact one’s mental health. This article deals with the basics of assault and the impact of crime on victims.

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Chapter 1:

What Is an Assault?

The assault comes with all sorts of violence that cause harm to someone else. In addition, this includes provocations and threats. Physical assault can take place in an abusive home environment, abusive relationship, workplace assault, rape, or murder. The attacker or the group does not have to have weapons for the attack for it to count as assault. If a person deliberately caused harm to another using physical violence, it counts as an assault. In most states, physical assaults count as a serious crime. Perpetrators will receive punishment accordingly. The impact of crime on the victims will have the abuser punished.

Below are a few examples of the incidents of physical assault incidents.

  • punching and injuries that causes bruises, dislocations, bites, fractures
  • injuries caused by a weapon
  • fights and struggles
  • rape or other sexual harassments
  • armed robbery

Here are some of the incidents that count as assault without a physical touch

  • provocation including insults, death threats
  • intimidating such as fist making, pushing, stalking, throwing objects

Chapter 2:

Impact of Physical Assault Crime on Victims

Sleeping young lady waking up from her dream of being mugged by masked man with a gun Physical assault mainly violates our right and desire not to be hurt. Thus, it can leave physical scars and even deeper mental scars. Being a victim of such a situation is a terrible thing to have to go through. Especially when there is mental trauma to deal with. The impact of crime on the victims is extremely heavy.

Let’s focus on one of the most common physical assault situations and how the crime impacts its victims on different levels.

Chapter 3:

Impact of Sexual Assault Crime on Victims

“Making someone feel obligated, pressured, or forced into doing something of a sexual nature that they don’t want to is sexual coercion. This includes persistent attempts at sexual contact when the person has already refused you. Nobody owes you sex, ever; and no means no, always.”

Miya Yamanouchi , Embrace Your Sexual Self: A Practical Guide for Women

Sexual abuse is assaulting the victim in terms of rape, child molestation, incest, sexual violence, and any other sort of nonconsensual sexual activity. However, most of the time, these activities don’t hold just one motive. Research suggests that these violations take place for overpowering, crushing the spirit, and many other motives. In conclusion, it is vital that victims receive medical attention after being sexually assaulted. The abusers seldom care for what the victim goes through and thus the physical and mental effects can be fatal. In addition, not many survive brutal sexual violence. Those who survive may be in for lifelong trauma and other psychological as well as physical issues. It robs of the victim’s soul, leaving them in the dark, confused and with a lot of questions that they’ll never have answers for.

Chapter 4:

What Are the Types of These Assaults?

Below are a few types of sexual assault.
Attempted Rape
If a victim manages to escape while the abuser tries to take sexual advantage of him/her, the incident still counts as a crime and goes under attempted rape. In addition to this, the victim sometimes escapes by causing serious harm to the abuser. Abusers tend to weaken their victims to make sure they don’t escape. Attempted rape can leave the victims as traumatized as rape will.
Nonconsensual Sexual Touching or Fondling
Touching another while they don’t consent or tell you not to count as assault.
Forcing Sexual Activity From the Victim
If the victim is threatened, forced, or scared into performing sexual activities that they are not comfortable with, counts as sexual assault. This can happen mostly to children where the abuser threatens to either harm a family member or harm the victim if they talk about what happened to them.
Sexual Abuse
Not all forms of sexual abuse fall neatly into legal categories. Sexual abuse can happen when parents have sex in front of their children. Or make sexually improper statements to their children. Another form of sexual abuse is revenge pornography sites. They post nude images of victims without their consent.
Forced sexual contact with a person who refuses or is unable to consent is rape. Date rape is a type of sexual assault that occurs between persons who have been dating for a while. Only a few states restrict the concept of rape to forcible sexual contact. However, rape can have long-term consequences for a person. The majority of states now consider forced oral sex and other forms of assault to be rape.
Child Molestation
Any sexual contact with a child is considered child molestation. However, many children who are abused are too young to understand what is going on. They may not be able to defend themselves. Some abusers exploit the child’s inability as “proof” that no one was hurt in these circumstances. Similarly, fondling or demanding sexual favors from a kid are examples of child molestation.
Incest is the term used to describe sexual interaction between family members. They are too close to marry. While incest between consenting people is possible, it is uncommon. The most common form of incest is child abuse. According to the most recent statistics, over a third of sexual assault survivors under the age of 18 are molested by a family member. Sadly, most incest occurrences go unreported.

Chapter 5:

The Impact of Physical Assault Crime on Victims

Crime Scene cordoned off by police no entry tape The impact of sexual assault or sexual abuse on victims does not end when the physical effects fade away.

The traumatic experience may haunt them.  This can have negative and long-term effects on their mental health. Whether you have been a victim of assault or know someone who has, it is critical to recognize and manage the mental impacts. When someone is going through sexual abuse, they have a variety of emotions. Sexual assault survivors are not all the same. No act of sexual abuse affects two people in the same way. There is no such thing as the “wrong” or “right” way to feel or react. Many diverse feelings, behaviors, and bodily responses come and disappear as the body and mind digest the destruction of abuse.

When a horrific event like this occurs, the aftermath can contain confusing feelings. As a result, long-term mental health issues. These effects on the mental health of the victims come in waves. All of the survivors and impacts on them differ. However, here are a few common issues identified in sexual assault victims.

The Denial After a Physical Assault
Survivors try to downplay the impact of the crime on them. They may refer to that as a one-time incident, ‘not that bad’ or may claim to have moved on soon after. This is done to avoid going through the trauma and the emotional effect of the physical assault. They may try not to talk about it, or avoid the topic.
The Guilt Related to the Physical Assault
The survivors may blame themselves for the assault. It may be hard for them to blame the abuser, especially if the abuser is a loved one they know. In some instances, they may want to protect the offender. In addition, the victim may blame their own behavior, clothes or a decision they took on the assault. Some social stigmas lead to this as well.
The Shameful Impact of Crime on Victims
Shame is a powerful thing. It can decide our entire existence for us. The gruesome assault may leave the victims feeling dirty and used for the rest of their lives. They disgust their bodies and suffer from shame to meet the others after the incident. Shame can grow into hate, loneliness, and depression. With the need to escape the shame and their used bodies, they may even attempt suicide.
The Effect on Setting Boundaries After a Physical Assault
After a sexual assault, many victims may have issues with setting boundaries. One reason for this is feeling used and taken advantage of. Some may have no boundaries while some may have extreme boundaries letting no one form a relationship with them. Boundaries are almost always a subject an assault victim needs help with.
Trust Issues Due to the Impact of Crime on Victims
The victims of sexual abuse may have a really hard time trusting anyone. This is especially a problem if the victim was assaulted by someone they trusted and loved dearly. This breach of trust and violation will lead them to be extremely cautious or unapproachable. Trust may be hard even on themselves. They won’t trust themselves to go out alone or handle a situation on their own.
Memory Issues After a Physical Assault
If the sexual assault happened before the formation of speech, the victim may have a hard time explaining or remembering what happened. The incident may exist in their mind as clouds of memories. Some adult victims may have a loss of memory regarding the incident due to the shock or other injuries.
Isolation Due to the Impact of Crime on Victims
For adult survivors, this is a major concern. Many people believe they are unworthy of help. Or that they are tainted. Also, that others will refuse to be their friends or lovers. Feelings of isolation can come from a survivor’s culture and community. Because of their disclosure, survivors may have suffered from stigma or ignored by their family and/or communities.
Cognitive Issues After a Physical Assault
Survivors may be unable to filter out memories of the assault. On the other hand, they may forget large portions of it. They may be continuously reflecting on things they may have done better. Nightmares are common. Survivors may also have fantasies or thoughts about being in a similar circumstance. Eating disorders, physical changes, changes in sexuality, substance misuse, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, hostility, and mood disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are all possible side effects.

Other effects of physical assault involve,

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Social isolation
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Flashbacks
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Health problems
  • Feeling helpless
  • Fear
  • Mood swings
  • Panic attacks
  • Trouble being in relationships
  • Paranoia

Chapter 6:

How Can I Recover From the Impact of Physical Assault?

Perpetrator's mug shot being taken against height chart with handcuffs in the foreground Unfortunately, the majority of victims of physical assault will be mentally affected in some way. Feelings of shame, guilt, or terror are common psychological outcomes of assault. These are often transient and improve over time. The consequences are more severe in many other circumstances. According to one study, sexual assault victims were substantially more likely than the general population to suffer from anxiety disorders, eating disorders, PTSD, sleep difficulties, depression, and suicidal attempts. It could have bad consequences if you don’t get mental health help.

Physical abuse is a devastating experience, but it is not impossible to recover. Those who have been the victims of rape or other forms of sexual assault can often benefit from counseling. Self-care and social support are very important.

Chapter 7:

Therapy for Physical Assault and Abuse

Survivors of sexual abuse can benefit from a variety of therapies. A therapist can examine a person and provide the best therapy options. A therapist may employ a variety of strategies in some circumstances. Some of those areas are below.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
CBT can help survivors break free from negative thoughts and habits. Survivors may use mindfulness activities in therapy to help them cope with their anxiety.
Sex Therapy
Sex therapy can assist individuals who are dealing with intimate issues as a result of sexual abuse. It is not advised for those who are still adjusting to their experience. Couples or individuals can benefit from sex therapy. Although a therapist may recommend activities to complete at home, sessions are verbal.
Play Therapy
This can assist young children who have a history of sexual abuse. Young children may not get what has occurred or be able to express their emotions. Play therapy can aid in the expression of emotions and the processing of painful memories in children.
EMDR uses tiny eye movements to help the brain “rewire” itself. This can help the survivor process the memory of the abuse differently. In this way, the memory appears to be less present and dangerous.
Depth Therapy
This focuses on a person’s unspoken ideas and memories. A person can discover how their unconscious emotions influence their conscious life. In addition, a person can learn to recognize and modify undesirable behaviors as their self-awareness grows.

Chapter 8:

Why Is Self-Care After Physical Assault Important?

A survivor’s emotional scars may last even after the physical injury has healed. It takes time to recover from the assault. However, survivors must practice self-care and patience with themselves. It’s possible that you won’t be inspired to complete your everyday tasks after the assault. However, still, your body requires fuel and sleep. Physical and emotional well-being are intertwined. A simple regimen might help a person feel more “in charge.”

You should pay additional attention to content warnings in media. If you’re not sure if a book or news report will disturb you, read it in a quiet setting first. You can always close the book or turn off the computer if it is a trigger. Even if you’re watching a movie with friends, you have the option of leaving if you need to. Noone else feelings should come over your mental health.

You are not under any obligation to tell anyone a story. Also, you are not obligated to respond to everyone’s questions. You don’t have to answer queries from anyone, including close friends and family. In addition, you can ask some people to keep your narrative a secret if you only want certain individuals to know it. You have complete control over your story. Similarly, there is no healing timetable. Your resilience does not make the assault any less serious if you heal rapidly. You aren’t “weak” if you take a long time to recover. No one else can teach you how to feel about your circumstances in the proper way.

Chapter 9:

How Can I Support Someone Who Has Survived a Physical Assault?

The only thing worse than going through a physical attack is watching a loved one going through a physical assault. The impact of it on them can make conversation hard. Days won’t be as relaxed and fun anymore. However, there are many ways you can help a friend slowly overcome the effect of the physical assault.
Believe Them When They Tell You About the Abuse
It takes a lot of courage and trust for someone to open p and talk about being violated by another person. If the person they trust to open up to refuses to believe them or doesn’t take them seriously, it is unlikely they will reach out for help again. Assault takes place due to trust breaches. Your reaction to your loved ones’ experience can decide their entire fate.
Watch What You Say
Be very careful with your words and reactions. The victim is already suffering from shame, guilt, and a massive shock. In other words, be gentle and considerate to their feelings. Do not joke about their experience. Not even after a while, since that can trigger flashbacks and trauma. Physical assault is a very serious issue. Make sure that your words and actions suggest your understanding of it.
Be the Support System They Desperately Need
Abuse can leave wounds that last a lifetime. Recovery may take longer than anticipated. Even if the incident happened a long time ago, you may need to maintain in touch with the victim. Communities may shun a survivor due to the stigma associated with sexual assault. Support from friends and family can make a loved one feel less alone and hopeless. Survivors often hold themselves responsible for the abuse. Especially if they know the perpetrator. You may need to tell the victim that the abuse was not their fault.
Do What You Can
It is not wise to go seeking revenge on the person that assaulted your friend. Instead, talk to who you can and take action with the resources available to you. If you attempt to harm another person, despite the fact they abused your friend, you will be charged with a crime. In no way can physical assault be justified. However, it is a faulty world, and we will have to hear of unfortunate occurrences every now and then. The best we can do is educate ourselves not to be someone that causes these issues, as well as to be someone who knows how to react in the face of these issues.

"Quick online learning, thanks!" Susan

92 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount