For Co-Victims of Homicide
Repercussion of Homicide
The repercussions of homicide are felt on the victims’ loved ones who become victims themselves and suffer psychologically and emotional reactions as well as financially hardships.
The movie Seven Seconds displays the toll that a homicide placed on a family after their son's untimely death. Both parents grieve in their own way. The mother became preoccupied with the horror of the suffering of her son and needed to know the details of his death. The father exhibited feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Like so many parents in our society, after losing a child to violence they suffer emotional and psychological stress which leads to a range of personal consequence such as marital problems, isolation, anger and rage, feelings of guilt, and a sense of injustice. In the movie the mother of her slain son wanted revenge, 'an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth' justice which is the law of retaliation, revenge & sentence alternative.
Many families of homicide victims feel a lack of empathy and compassion demonstrated by police and other criminal justice professionals. Co-victims yearn for information about the death of their loved ones and want to be kept abreast of the progress of the investigation.
For them, not being included leaves families with feelings of anger and dissatisfaction believing that their loved one is the forgotten victim.
When survivors of homicide victims feel social isolation and powerless over the investigation they see the death of their loved one as senseless, meaningless and inexplicable. They agonize over the “why” of the murder with incomplete information; questions left unanswered including unanswered telephone calls from detectives investigating the case. As an option most families reach out to the media for help. At times the media can be a very helpful tool for families of homicide victims. They can be an ally for the search of justice. Families in distress utilize the media to let their voices be heard; to tell their side of the story. It gives them home and comfort that someone will hear them and show compassion and come forward with information.
On the other hand, the media can be an adversary if their objective is to turn every story into news often time using the family tragedy as a way to sensationalize for the sake of ratings. As a result the victim representation by the press maybe distorted as may the circumstances leading to the murder. When that happens families then feel they lost control of their own truth about the victim and the situation
|Families of murder victims report:|
|Fantasies and nightmares of how the murder happened|
|Anger toward the victim for being in the wrong place at the wrong time|
|Depression and feeling of helplessness and powerlessness|
|Hatred toward God||Shock and denial|
|Loneliness and isolation||PTSD|
|Not able to work||Unfamiliarity with court process|
|Rejection and ridicule||Distorted grief|
|Drug addiction to ease the pain||Thoughts of suicide|
Strengthening Co-victims of Homicide:
Many family and friends are at a lost on how to help convictism cope with a devastating loss of a loved one. Every victim is unique and every family member suffering is unique however there are aspects that are shared.
Learning to cope is also another important aspect of a person’s grief. Coping is an attempt to adapt to new circumstances and incorporate them into your daily life. A Co-victim's life will not be the same as it was before the loved on was murdered. Learning to cope with grief requires recognizing, acknowledging and accepting all that is involved. The process can feel like a roller coaster ride with ups and downs along the way. But no matter how painful and difficult, grieving is necessary to heal and find new meanings in life.
Here are some coping mechanism co-victim's might find helpful:
- Talk about your loved one- say their name, talk about the how they made you laugh or smile. Good or bad it’s the memories that will bring you joy and make the day bearable. There maybe tears, but they are bittersweet tears.
- Crisis intervention- Seek support from a professional counselor or a support group. If there are none available close to where you live consider starting one of your own. You do not need to be a therapist or counselor to engage with other survivors. You can always invite professionals to come speak to your group. You’ll be surprise at the professionals that would be happy to attend and share there expertise on several topics.
- Journaling- as defined “Journal therapy” is a type of writing therapy that focuses on the writer's internal experiences, thoughts and feelings. ... Like other forms of therapy, journal therapy can be used to heal a writer's emotional or physical problems or work through a trauma.