Like Many Robbery Victims, Kim Kardashian West Is Traumatized

Research on other robbery victims lines up with Kim’s experience.
Kim Kardashian West is recovering from her traumatic experience with the help of her family.
Mike Segar / Reuters
Kim Kardashian West is recovering from her traumatic experience with the help of her family.

Kim Kardashian West’s friends and family say that she’s “not doing that well” after masked, armed men broke into her Paris hotel room, bound and gagged her and stole $11 million worth of jewelry, including a diamond ring from husband Kanye West, on Oct 3.

During the violent incident, West reportedly begged for her life and reminded her captors that she had children. When they grabbed her by the ankles, West told police, she thought she was about to be raped.

The assault shocked Paris residents and alarmed West’s family and friends, but ultimately it is a very personal “emotional terror,” said Khloe Kardashian during a taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. A source also told ET Online that West is crying and having flashbacks to the traumatic night.

Research on bank tellers and others who experience workplace robbery suggests that this is a completely normal reaction to the violent invasion.

Many victims of a violent robbery experience acute stress disorder and psychological distress after the incident, depending on whether employees felt like their lives were in danger during the robbery. What’s more, even arriving at your home to discover you’ve been burglarized — a relatively non-violent incident — can cause victims to feel fear, guilt and shame, reported Pacific Standard.

The psychological distress of being violently robbed can manifest itself as a sleep disorder, heightened awareness of one’s surroundings, difficulty concentrating, headaches, feeling suspicious of future customers, and generally feeling unsafe and no longer wanting to continue working at the same job, according to studies on employees who have witnessed a workplace robbery.

In a small minority of workers who experience a robbery or other traumatic workplace event, these symptoms can develop into full blown post-traumatic stress disorder. Risk factors for developing PTSD include pre-existing psychiatric disorders, previous exposure to trauma and some characteristics of the robbery itself, such as use of weapons.

If there’s any silver lining in experiencing such a terrifying ordeal, research also shows that support from friends and family can help people recover, especially if loved ones listen and take the experience seriously. Contact with other victims is also helpful.

West’s friends and family have rallied close, vowing publicly to support her as she recovers from the traumatic event. But rumors that the reality TV star fabricated the entire incident for money have been circulating the internet, and on Oct 11, West filed a lawsuit against celebrity gossip site MediaTakeOut for a story they wrote alleging that the robbery was a staged stunt to defraud her insurance company.

We’re hoping that no one in her immediate circle takes the same callous, suspicious approach to her trauma. West’s recovery may depend on it.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms