Although specific victimizations may differ, there appear to be common psychological responses across a wide variety of victims. It is proposed that victims' psychological distress is largely due to the shattering of basic assumptions held about themselves and their world. Three assumptions that change as a result of victimization are: 1) the belief in personal invulnerability; 2) the perception of the world as meaningful; and 3) the view of the self as positive. Coping with victimization is presented as a process that involves rebuilding one's assumptive world. Introductions to the papers that follow in this issue are incorporated into a discussion of specific coping strategies adopted by victims.