Not all crime victims are obvious

Most people can identify the most obvious victims of crimes. They are the ones with whom we sympathize when we read the story about a crime having taken place in our community. They are the victim of an assault, of abuse, of fraud, etc. Often we view them in relation to a perpetrator – there is one who wronged and the one who was wronged.

However, realistically a crime most often leaves more than just the obvious victim. There are the friends and families of the victim, left on the occasions of violent crime, with shattered lives to help rebuild, often over the course of years. We see these victims in the media occasionally, such as the parents of a child who had been victimized, a spouse, a parent, etc. We can relate to these people whether we have ever experienced something similar or not.

Other victims we might never think of and probably rarely find ourselves relating to. When someone commits a crime and is punished for it, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. A perpetrator has friends and family, parents and children as well. Those relatives often become victims themselves, victims of the attention brought by their relative’s actions. Perhaps if we have a personal connection, we might have some sense of sympathy. Few would probably otherwise consider a perpetrator’s family members. However, no one grows up saying “I want to be a felon when I am older,” and no family wants that for their children. People who commit crimes come from families of all sorts.

However reading about a certain crime in the newspaper might anger us in respect to the perpetrator, we should not forget the less obvious victims, because in the end, all victims are part of a tattered social fabric.