In the Part 1 of this article, we examine definitions of rape and we went ahead to identify who the possible predators or perpetrators of rape could be. Attempt was also made to identify and explain the factors that make the victims vulnerable to rape. Last, but not the least, methods being used by the predators to get or overpower their victims were also explained.
In this part, we are looking at the social and psychological consequences of sexual assault on the victims. Presented are some of these consequences:
Psychosocial Consequences of rape on the victims.
1. Stigmatization. This is the tendency by members of the society, even including the family members, to distance themselves from the victims of rape. This therefore makes it difficult for such victims to get re-integrated to the society. This therefore leaves the victims isolated, lonely, dejected and depressed. Family members, Friends, colleagues, and associates start discriminating against the victims as if they planned and hatched the rape against themselves.
2. Trauma leading to depression. Apart from being stigmatized, each time the victims remember the way and manner they were raped, fears are sent down their spines that make them behave irrationally. The level of severity varies from one victim to another. This in many cases lead to depression. This condition may linger for months after the incident. And in some situations, it could last for years.
3. .Suicide. Sometimes the shame that comes with being raped and especially the way the society handles this may prompt the victims to take the sad decision of wanting to take their own lives. This is especially the case where victims are isolated socially, psychologically and physically. In order to end the self-guilt once and for all, the victims who are not well guided may decide to go on suicide mission.
4. Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem. Some victims lose confidence in themselves after rape encounter. They form the mindset that there is nothing they can achieve in life except someone sleeps with them. This category of victims believe that if one wants to get a job, promotion, examination score, business, and so on, one needs to exchange such with sex. They don’t believe they can do anything on their own without sleeping around.
5. Displaced aggression. There is a category of victims that feel that the right thing to do is to visit the wickedness done to them on other people that may not necessarily be the persons that raped them. In this category are female victims of rape that feel that no man should be trusted again. They use blanket description for all men. To this category any manner of wickedness visited on any man is morally and ethically justified. Similarly, male victims harbor similar views against all females. This partly fuels the male/female divide in the society today.
6. Drug addiction. One of the dangerous consequences of rape is drug addiction. Perhaps because this is one of the methods the predators normally use to get their victims, these victims later come to accept drug abuse as a way of life and they get hooked to it. This is very sad. Some of the predators first introduced their victims to drugs. They ensure the victims get used to being stimulated with the substances before they carry out their heinous act. The implication of this is that after they have been violated sexually, the victims are still drug dependent. Through this, the predators are assured of being able to rape the victims repeatedly with little or no resistance.
7. Unwanted pregnancy and giving birth to a child whose paternity cannot be readily traced. Most rape induced sexual intercourse are unprotected. This therefore increases the chance of pregnancies that are least planned and prepared for. Apart from pregnancy, there is also the question of paternity where the victims were gang raped. This is a double tragedy for the victims. This raises the questions such as: What is going to be fate of the pregnant or expectant mother? What is the fate of the new baby before and after delivery? Who is the true biological father of the baby? Who carries the responsibility of bringing up the child to become a responsible adult?
8. Threat on the potential or/and existing marriage relationship of the victim. Rape is a major sour point in relationships between intending and existing couples. Except in a very few cases, most people whose partners were raped either in their presence or absence ended up discontinuing such relationship. This is a very serious emotional situation for all the stakeholders. It further aggravates the already bad situation.
9. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).Rape being unplanned sexual assault exposes the health of the victims and even the predators to potential risks in the form of sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, syphilis, staphylococcus, HIV/AIDS, and many more. This is particularly so as most of the sexual intercourse are done unprotected. The damaging impacts of this can better imagined. In fact some of these will remain for the rest of the lives of the people involved. This is apart from the fact that some of the diseases can be further spread to other unsuspecting members of the society.
10. Loss of caring and loving attitude. After the brutal attack and sexual assault visited on the victims, they start seeing the world around them as being wicked and callous. Unconsciously, many of them come to accept this as the norm and do not see the need to be as caring and loving as they used to be. In fact at this point they start seeing their previous nicety as a product of wrong interpretation of what the social system has to offer to its constituents. To this end, there is no room for care and love and there should not be any.
11. Loss of interest in sex and romance. Because of the forceful nature of rape, the victims feel maligned, cheated, taken for granted, degraded and ridiculed. The experience compels some of them to develop hatred for sex and romance. Their future relationship suffer serious attrition due the past experience of sexual assault. Some do manage to get healed from such nasty and horrifying experience. But in many instances, such past encounters continue to hunt them to the extent that they hardly have good sexual experience for the rest of their lives. Many marriages are crashed because of this.
12. Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF). Here we are talking of VVF as caused by rape. This suggests that there could be other causes of this health condition. When rape occurs especially when it involves inserting some objects into the vagina of the victims this can lead to or create holes between the vagina and bladder or rectum or both. This often leads to leaking of urine or feces or both. It could be physically, socially and psychologically embarrassing and devastating for a women to find themselves in such situation.
13. Sense of guilt. Arising from the combination of the consequences of rape, the victims start feeling guilty for crime visited on them by criminal(s). This is a dangerous point because this usually result in self condemnation that may suggest that the victims will isolate or withdraw themselves from other members of the society. This may lead to depression or suicide.
14. Low productivity at work and in the school. One thing is sure for all victims of sexual assault. Their productivity levels normally drop relative to what it was before they are raped. This workers, students, military personnel and any other category of people. This low productivity may take the form of reduction in efficiency ratio, high error rates and so on.
Watch out for Part 3 of write up where attempt will be made to look at how post rape cases and victims are and should be treated.