More than half of the South African population have had more than three traumatic experiences in their life, says clinical psychologist Linda Pera.
Pera says many South Africans have normalised violence and often ignore the psychological impact it has had on them.
The psychological impact of crime and violent trauma can leave victims blaming themselves, living in fear, suffering from anxiety and other disorders and feeling disempowered.
Traumatised people often tend to exhibit aggressiveness and anger that is rooted in fear, she adds.
The nation faces continuous trauma and needs to create both individual and collective interventions, Pera advises.
It's important for others to treat victims of violent crime with sensitivity. Acknowledge their experience, listen to them and be supportive.
Don't diminish the person's experience by telling them it could have been worse and avoid offering an opinion instead of a listening ear, Pera suggests.
Because [violence] is so normalised in our society, we aren't aware that this isn't okay. It's not okay to look over your shoulder all the time.— Linda Pera, Clinical psychologist
Traumatised people often become aggressive themselves.— Linda Pera, Clinical psychologist
We live in a context of continuous trauma in South Africa. We need to take into account all of these things going on at the same time... The intervention needs to largely be at a community level.— Linda Pera, Clinical psychologist
Listen to what psychologist Linda Pera has to say:
Below are some of the responses to the discussion on Twitter:
Traumatized and off work today.. Son held @ gunpoint and house ransacked... Awful experience..— Kedibone Mosenene (@KediboneMosene1) February 4, 2019
Its high time crime is made a national emergency. Like how things are happening in kenya. Watched a documentry and saw how under cover cops shoot down the criminals. Ngo's talk shit regarding human rights but the residents are happy...— Mohammed (@Mohammed_zumla) February 4, 2019
As a nation we are held ransom by the crime and violence plaguing our communities, it is made particularly worse by the lack of urgency by police and our justice system to address the scourge of violence and crime, this often leaves victims feeling a great sense of hopelessness— Ilitha Labantu (@IlithaLabantu) February 4, 2019
I agree with you, the level of violent crime is high in SA. As a woman there is always a fear that your bag will be stolen just standing outside or that you will be raped while going for a morning run. We live in constant fear.— Koketso Moloko (@porklady) February 4, 2019