Posted by: Worried | 2013/02/06

Friend a victim of crime

A friend, who is also a work colleague was a victim of ''smash and grab'' late last year. A week ago, she was threatened and robbed of her cellphone whilst in peak hour traffic on the highway close to Johannesburg CBD. She is in a bad way, but refuses to seek counselling. She has now found another job in the south of Johannesburg (we work in the north) as she believes that it will never happen to her again if she moves away from the northern suburbs and the highways surrounding us. Her anxiety is rubbing off onto other staff members and apparently is now also causing problems in her marriage as she refuses to go anywhere without her husband accompanying her! I am actually getting annoyed with her as she becomes frantic when a black male even walks close to her or my car when we go out at lunchtime. I have told her that she needs to speak to someone about it. Her fear is rubbing off onto other people. We all know that we live in a crime-ridden country and that we can at any time be a victim. She waves her hands around, becomes red in the face and feels physically ill when it is time to leave the office in the afternoons. I have also been in a situation where my neckchain was almost ripped from my neck, but I have taken to not wearing gold jewellery, leaving all my bags in the boot of the car and my cellphone hidden in the compartment in my car door where no-one can see it. Maybe I am being harsh on her, but she needs to deal with what happened. She cannot go through life hiding in her home and not going anywhere because she may just become a victim of crime again. Advice please, how do I get through to her to make her see the importance in speaking to someone about it? Thank you.

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Our expert says:
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Its always sad when someone whol very obviously needs help, such as counselling, refuses to accept it. From the sound of it she is showing really clear signs of post-traumatic stress problems, needing and likely to respond really well, to proper treatment, and needs a careful assessment from a good psychiatrist and a discussion of treatment options.
Apart from very clearly explaining that her obviously distressing symptoms are naturally unpleasant for her but are also disturbing other people, and that there is highly effective treatment available which you urgen her to take advantage of, there's not a lot more you can do.
Has she a husband opr other family who could be approached and enlisted to help re-inforce this message ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: KandyGirl | 2013/02/08

To ME- you say I mustn''t judge until I''ve been a victim, you obviously didn''t read the parts where I was mugged at 14 and held up at gunpoint twice in one month at age 19.

I have experienced violence, I have had my life threatened. The first robbery a customer got shot in the hand. I saw his hand hanging by a few strands of flsh and veins. I was alone at the till both times, alone with a gunman. How traumatic is that to a 19 year old? To ANYONE?

There have been other incidences. I have had people follow me home. I have had people come to my front door IN A COMPLEX trying to break it down just because I asked them through a window to turn their music down. I have had people rob me of my items in places I thought they were safe.

I have had my fair share of crime, thank you.

Of course people are attention seekers, everyone likes being oohed and aaaahed over, for any reason.

I am not saying PTSD doesn''t exsist. Again, if you read my post properly you will see that I also stated that it obviously is affecting her friend if she is PHYSICALLY feeling the affects.

Reply to KandyGirl
Posted by: ME | 2013/02/08

Hi there

Yes, please urge her to seek help! PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) can affect you years after the incident happened - trust me I know!

I was a victim of an armed housebreak where I had a knife to my throat and at my ribs at times. I got slapped in the face several times, told that I would die, that he would kill me and that I was nothing but a piece of s##t to him.

I went for trauma debriefing but still suffer the after affects with anxiety disorders and am still to scared to lie out by the pool when my husband is not home.

@Kandygirl : the more you talk about what happened, the more you get to deal with it. Don''t judge how someone should react to being a victim of crime until you have experienced it yourself! I was VERY traumatised by my experience and trust me & mdash  I am not an attention seeker! To claim that people who have been traumatised and talk about it are attention seekers is very harsh. Yes, people can get stuck in negativity and fear - but it is part of PTSD and people do need to get professional help.

Reply to ME
Posted by: KandyGirl | 2013/02/06

I can see how it is getting annoying. There is nothing worse than a person who can help themselves but chose not to.

I was mugged at the tender age of 14 years old, then held up at gunpoint twice in one month (where I worked) when I was 19. I never sought counselling, but I got over it and didn''t go on and on about it.

Thing is, people like the attention. They like feeling special because they were a victim of crime but it is the wrong attention.

I have a friend who was robbed at an intersection in JHB last year too, she wasn''t alone (like I was, all alone at the tills with a robber, twice) yet she still goes on about it even though she has a connection for free trauma counselling.

If you have spoken to your friend about it before, about the importance of getting helped and she hasn''t listened, then don''t give into her when she goes all red faced and ill. It obviously does bother her if it affects her so physically, however maybe if she sees that you, and everyone else, are no longer interested in what happened to her, it''ll wake her up to get over it.

Reply to KandyGirl

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