As homelessness is already a challenging time for individuals to face, they also have to face the wrath of being victimized and abused, with the potential of potentially facing death. Not only do those that are homeless have to worry about their safety, they also lack protection and support from the general public.
Abuse towards the homeless happens more often than we think. Individuals experiencing homelessness are on the streets: vulnerable, out in the open, and often with nobody to help them. Many forms of abuse occur towards the homeless population: assault, murder, and sexual abuse. Yet, our local governments and the general American population seem to purposefully ignore the issue.
Sexual assault occurs to many experiencing homeless, including homeless youth. Sometimes homeless youth must engage in sexual activities to survive: statistics show that every 1 in 3 homeless youth will engage in survival sex at one point in their life. Aside from engaging in methods like such for survival, these youths will often end up being lured into other forms of sexual activity while homeless and vulnerable, for example, prostitution.
“The Experience Of Violence In The Lives of Homeless Women: A research report, showed that 78.3% of homeless women in the study have been subjected to rape, physical assault, and/or stalking.” The study also concluded that 55.9% of the victims had been raped, 72.2% were physically assaulted, and 25.4% were subjected to stalking.
There isn’t just the issue of sexual assault but also the dilemma of assault with deadly weapons and murder. But, not every assault on a homeless individual leads to death.
Regardless of whether or not it leads to murder, the violence is horrendous. In 2018, there was a report of a 35-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman drenched in battery acid while they were sleeping. They were then rushed to the hospital for their chemical burns.
“Over the last 18 years, 1,769 reported acts of violence have been committed against homeless individuals, though the actual number is likely much higher.”
John D. Guerrero, serial victimizer of the homeless, was charged with killing or hurting a dozen homeless individuals. The number of murders against the those experiencing homelessness has been on the rise since 2018.
The abuse and assault on the homeless population include lots of physical damage that can result in long-term complications.
As these crimes are committed against the homeless, they also encounter negative law enforcement encounters. They feel the police may not be on their side with those confrontations. The homeless population feels that way, making them more reluctant to come forward or report the assaults taken out on them.
Because of the stigma against the homeless population, if an individual saw them getting assaulted or harassed, they would be unlikely to do something about it or step in.
The information regarding these awful crimes is not as well known because they fail to be reported or seen. Individuals tend to assume that the homeless individuals may have provoked it.