This article reports on a qualitative research project which aimed to determine how the personal experience of an armed robbery and violent assault impacted on a sample of 39 victims' perceptions of South Africa as a risk society, a mistrust of strangers, and changes in their personal behaviour as well as security measures to prevent future victimisation. The personal negligence of some respondents, inadequate security measures, and opportunities created deliberately, or out of ignorance by employees, made it possible for the armed robbers to gain entry to homes. All the respondents were physically assaulted, and held at gunpoint to intimidate them into telling where valuables were kept in the house. The experience of being robbed and violently assaulted left them with feelings of ontological insecurity, xenophobia and distrust of strangers, fear of crime and little confidence in the government and police to maintain law and order. The manner in which short-term insurance claims were negotiated and the amount of money eventually paid out, was a final source of frustration and disgust for many respondents.