Did You Know…
Some Truths about Crime & Violence
Try to realize that your loved one is different than the myths you may have heard (and may have believed).
Sometimes, people have preconceived ideas about what “types” of people are victims of certain crimes. These ideas may come from things you’ve seen on TV or in movies. They may come from commonly-held myths about crime that are still widespread in society. They may also come from a type of defense mechanism—if you believe that only “those” people are victimized, you can convince yourself that it won’t happen to you or someone you love. When your loved one has been harmed, it may challenge your preconceived notions or you might find yourself questioning what you know about your loved one.
The fact is, crime can—and does—happen to people, regardless of what “type” of person they are. People can be harmed no matter what age they are; what region of the country they live in; how much money they earn or have in the bank; what school someone attended or how much education someone has completed; or a person’s gender, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, mental and physical ability, personality type, occupation, or sexual orientation. That being said, some people are more vulnerable to certain types of violence than other people. It isn’t the victim’s fault that he or she is more vulnerable.
Researchers have learned a lot about crime and violence, but the violence that’s shown on TV or in movies is usually based in entertainment, not facts. What we see and hear in the entertainment media about domestic and sexual violence are especially far from what the facts say. This website section will provide some facts about sexual and domestic violence—two crimes that still have many commonly-held myths in our culture. It will also talk about some ways that homicide is different than other crimes and different than death by natural causes.
Before your loved one was harmed, did you have an idea of “what people are like” who were victimized by the same kind of violence? Often, these ideas are based on myths and can get in the way of helping your friend or family member.
A note before we get into the myths and facts:
This website uses some statistics to show that the myths aren’t true. Some of the statistics are big. The statistics aren’t meant to scare you, but to give you more information. Before you read on, there is some context about crime rates that may be helpful to keep in mind:
Violent and property crime rates in the United States are significantly lower than they were 10 years ago. In 2013, violent crimes fell to their lowest number since the 1970s.i Overall, the United States is a safer place to live than before. There are a number of reasons why there is less crime and there is a lot of research into strategies and programs that do—and don’t—prevent crime.
That being said, crime is still committed. Know that the crime was not your loved one’s fault. Help may be available. And with greater investment in programs that prevent crime and help crime survivors rebuild their lives, hopefully fewer individuals, families, and communities will ever experience the impact of crime.
Learn more about:
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