Victim of Violent Crime

Dreamer: Colleen, Single American female, early thirties

I'm with my 4-year-old son in a two-story beach house (you enter on the second story) when a woman (I suppose I know her) comes running in the house and is trying to explain something to me. At this point a man (her significant other) comes running in the house with a gun. My son is watching TV upstairs and doesn't seem to notice any of what is going on. The woman grabs me as her shield and runs downstairs. The man follows us. We seem to be getting trapped in an area of the downstairs part of the house and I decide that I have to throw her to the side and run for it. I woke up at this point, never reaching the stairs, not knowing if my son was okay upstairs, and not ever hearing a gunshot or anything else. The dream upset me so badly I could not go back to sleep.

In a second dream I'm riding in an old car with a male friend of mine on a dark highway when another car starts to chase us. Our car stalls and the men from the chase car start to approach our car with guns. I woke up, once again, not ever knowing how the dream ended.

In the third dream, I am giving a small party at a house that I did not recognize. The house is situated inside a wooden fence approximately 6 feet high so you have to enter through a gate in a fence prior to reaching the front door. You enter the house from the area of the kitchen and dining rooms.

To reach the area where people are gathered (watching television and listening to music) you must go deeper into the house. From this den, you can look out to the backyard (this room is all windowed). I have to throw something away in the outside trash cans so I go out the front door (by myself) where there is an area designated and gated just for trash. After throwing the garbage in the can, someone (a man) grabs me from behind. We struggle. I woke up thinking no one would have ever heard me call for help because I was so far away and it was so noisy in the room where everyone else was. I never figured out who the man was or whether I got away. In the past I have been a victim of two violent crimes. My oldest son was involved in one when he was 4. The first instance was when I was 12. And recently (in the last two weeks) I found out that an old friend of mine was addicted to drugs and was killed as a result of a debt.

Mr. Hagen's Reply: Victim of Violent Crime

I do believe that your dream is related to the violence you have experienced. Guns are involved in two of your dreams. The gun is a masculine symbol that often figures in violent crimes. It is an instrument of power, the "great equalizer" of the North American west. The gun, an instrument of violence, is a central symbol in the mythology of our present political and social organization.

Yet, like most of us, you find violence disgusting and grotesque. In the second dream you relate the place where the dream takes place is on a dark street. Guns, violence, cars, covert actions and dark streets are elements in "Noir" fiction and movies. Elsewhere on this site, there is an article about "Film Noir" that should explain more about your dreams. It is significant that in the first dream your child is watching television while you are the victim of violence.

You wake up worried about your child, more than about yourself. You seem to be concerned about the influence of violence on your child, both from specific events and media influences (the television).

Your dreams reflect a concern about the pervasiveness and randomness of violence. You are not safe behind fences or with friends. Even when performing such everyday tasks as taking out the garbage, you risk being the victim of violence. The desire for peace is in conflict with traditional, dominant ideologies organized around the symbol of the gun.

A number of years back the US Federal Trade Commission released a draft report showing that movie studios, video game producers and recording companies promote violent entertainment to children while labeling them inappropriate for young audiences. At the same time, there is a movement in America to make the streets, television, music and the public imagination safer places to live and grow up. This is a political issue, invoked in US presidential election campaigns. In Canada there is a Criminal Injuries Compensation Board that assesses and remunerates the victims of violence. In my opinion, when the public, through government, must compensate victims there is a public incentive to find ways to curb violent crime.

Hope these thoughts are of help and provide some insight,
Mark H.

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