Today (April 10, 2016) starts National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Some of our regular readers might be aware that The Final Twist Writers Society tends toward mystery based fiction. This genre is a fertile ground for crime-based drama and suspense. It can be a real treat to follow a good mystery through to the end and see the victims of the crime given a concrete answer to the who or how.
Not everyone, however, considers the ramifications of the mental and social impacts that the victims of a crime can suffer after the crime has been solved. Has the sentence or resolution been satisfactory enough to count as “Justice”? Will the perpetrator be free in the future to commit another crime if they do not reform? How many of those close to the victim are supportive and sympathetic throughout the healing process? How many blame the victim and seek to free the perpetrator?
All of these questions and so many more can be explored with writing. For those who are thinking of a person in your life that may have suffered victimization, perhaps you realized the lack of material that is available to assist in dealing with the financial, physical, and psychological impacts.
Writing mystery fiction that educates readers on victims’ rights can contribute to allowing someone to come to a sense of peace or reduce the burden of guilt and social stigma associated with being involved in a crime. It is not just those who are victims that can benefit. Individuals that were never involved can sometimes make it seem as if they are justified in blaming the victim for actions or even just thoughts that precipitated the crime. This is an absurd and damaging attitude. Victimizing another human being is senseless. It can happen without reason, provocation, or warning and regardless of preventative measures.
Use the mystery you create to not only raise someone’s pulse with that last-second deduction, but to also highlight how much understanding and sympathy can alleviate the burden that victims can be forced to undertake if their lives are turned upside down by crime. How your characters react to a resolved crime situation can go a long way toward paving the path for those who are reading the story to behave. Not only that, but how you address some of the possibilities for victims’ rights education can lead to a mind bending sequel!
Some educational resources: