Victimisation is the process to victimize and making a victim of (someone). There can be different types of victimisation such as peer victimisation, sexual victimisation, secondary victimisation etc. There is a fine difference between victimisation and victimology, that is, as follows:
The offender-victim relationship is known as “victimology” and it plays an integral part in determining the role of a victim in the crime. Victimology is used to assess and interpret factors, processes of victimization, and types of victims and dynamics of crime. It relays to shed light on the phenomenon that victim and victimizer are responsible for the dynamics of crime and shall be treated in the same light. They are just like ‘two weights in a beam balance’. Victimology aims to reduce the number of victims in all sectors of society.
Hence, victimisation is the process to victimize and making a victim of (someone), whereas, victimology is an integral part of criminology which studies the various aspects of offender-victim relationship.
Victimisation occurs in three relevant stages which are as follows:
- Impact- Initial Reaction:
These are reactions to traumatic event such as anger, disbelief, shock, helplessness, numbness etc.
These are attempts made by an individual to deal with the event. It includes denial, self-blame, compensatory fantasies and planning etc.
It takes place when the victim tries to reorganize his life. He focusses on his life goals, calls for help/support, returns to a state of equilibrium etc. He/she is no more in denial and asserts to push forward in his life tracks.
Secondary victimisation may occur when the victim is subjected to someone who:
- Cannot understand what the victim is struggling with
- Is not concerned about the experience and feelings of a victim
- Acts selfishly and are in denial of their own acts
- Lacks relevant information about post-traumatic stress disorder
Thus, to avoid secondary victimisation one must surround themselves with a healthy environment and supportive, mature individuals who motivate you to thrive and achieve great heights. The four most common theories to explain and enhance better understanding of victimisation and its causes are the deviant place theory, the victim precipitation theory, the routine activities theory and the lifestyle theory. These theories state what leads to victimisation and the role of victimiser-victim in the process of victimisation. Victimisation occurs in daily life regularly. Therefore, to be forewarned about its factors, scope, definition plays a role in minimizing the process itself.
RISK FACTORS FOR VICTIMISATION
There are multiple factors which influence the risk of victimisation, such as:
- Individual Factors: These constitute low self-esteem, poor academic achievement, being a woman etc.
- Relationship Factors: These constitute the manipulative and predominant nature of a partner in a relationship, mistrust, etc.
- Community Factors: These constitute overpopulation, low social capital etc.
- Societal Factors: These constitute gender inequality, discrimination etc.
Offender-victim relation may be the incidence of victimisation. As mentioned the victim is a dependent variable for the dynamic of crime. Mendelsohn, a pioneer in victimology, calls the victim and his offender the “penal couple.” The victimizer and the victim act on each other directly by sharing a commonplace, or indirectly by symbolic relationship. As the victimizer and victim often share an interpersonal relationship, factors such as marital status, friend, and acquaintance of the offender and that of victim result in commission of criminal activity, i.e., Victimisation. When a criminal offense takes place, an offender’s choice is determinant of his relationship with the victim.
Thus, the most objective and reliable measure for examining the victim–offender relationship is the level of exposure involved. Victim exposure is the amount of contact or vulnerability to harmful elements experienced by the victim and is determined by examining and considering lifestyle exposure and situational exposure.
Male victimisation is a significant public health problem that needs to be addressed and taken care of. Males face intimate partner violence, sexual violence, rape, stalking etc. on a recurrent basis but still, the gender-gap in the ratio of reported cases is worrisome. It happens due to stereotypes such as men are not vulnerable, men always want sex etc. Such misconception is deep rooted in our country(India) as well. In India rape is considered as the act of penile penetration, or any foreign object into the vagina without the consent of a woman or girl.
Sec 375  of IPC states that “sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped or is of unsound mental health and in any case, if she is under 18 years of age”.
Thus, two notions are clear from the definition, i.e., a rape victimizer is necessarily a man and its victim is necessarily a female. This is groundless as no provision of law states definition of rape of males. A male is susceptible to such sexual crimes and there are no laws to protect him from the act. Why can’t we have similar laws for men for protection against violence? This is violative of article 14 which guarantees the right to equality. If the government won’t recognize violence against men and address the issue at hand, who will?
If there is a slogan as “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” then why can’t there be a slogan as ‘Mard bachao’? The ground reality that is reflected in the survey of Insia Dariwala which surveyed 1500 male out of which 71% of men surveyed said they were abused, 84.9% said they had not told anyone about the abuse and The primary reasons for this were shame (55.6%), followed by confusion (50.9%), fear (43.5%) and guilt (28.7%). There are many cases in the armed forces where men become prey to such non-consensual sexual acts. Thus, it is upsetting as we all are too focused on crime against women, in the process, our nation’s men are neglected.
This indicates a paucity of law, narrow outlook and failure to safeguard the interest of all citizens. There is a loophole in the Indian Constitution as it is women-centric in terms of sexual crimes. To safeguard and protect men against such injustice measures such as gender neutrality of rape laws, gender equality in criminal law, broad outlook etc. is needed.
If we compare reports on female and male victimization, females have been subjected more to criminal offenses, such as foeticide and infanticide, rape, sexual assault etc. That does not give us the right to presume that males are well protected. A number, statistics states what has been surveyed but the facts are hidden due to primary reasons like shame, as male are considered to be strong mentally and physically.
Gender-gap in victimization varies due to such reasons. I believe that both men and women of our nation shall be protected and given equal privileges and rights. Gender-equality in criminal law would be a great incentive for the same. I agree to the fact that women are victimized more but that is due to lack of education, unawareness about their rights, being oblivious to self-defense, narrow mindset, etc. If we can bring such changes then the chances of victimization of women would be minimal. Thus, gender-gap in victimization is presumptive.
Author’s Name: Aashansa Varma (MIT-WPU, Kothrud, Pune)