The Nature and Consequences of Rape on the Victims Part 4

We continued our discussion of rape and its consequences on the victims by taking a look at how rape cases should be handled when it happens in the Part 3 of this write up. We are taking the discussion further by exploring possible means of preventing rape and save potential victims some agonies.
Rape Preventive Methods
1. Avoid Drugs. Predators often drug their prey in order to rape them with little or no resistance. This may involve offering them drugged food or drink. It could also be by offering them such items of consumption directly especially where they know that the would-be victims are already using such drugs. Among such drugs are indian hemp/marijuana, tramadol, alcohol, cocaine, caffeine, heroin, to mention just a few. Obviously those who are already into drugs are more vulnerable to this kind of trap. So the wise counsel in this regard is to avoid indulging in drugs. This will reduce the chance of being raped.

2. Avoid indecent dressing and nudity. Indecent dressing in and out the homes should be avoided as much as possible. Same for all forms of nudity at home and other places. Any form of dressing that exposes the curves, especially for women could be very provocative and source of temptation to others, especially the men around. Lesbians also get attracted to exposed boobs and butts. The extent of temptation varies from one individual to the other. Those who do not have the capacity to withstand the temptation may be compelled to attempt rape. In other words, people who are involved in this dressing pattern are likely to be raped than others who are not. So to avoid rape, dress normally.

3. Avoid Volatile/Rape Prone Areas. Avoid places or situations that may create conducive atmosphere for rape. Among these areas are isolated areas where no help can readily come in sight in case of any attacks. It is equally important to ensure you do not visit black spots that serve as the hosts for criminals and their drug related activities. Reducing the frequency of your visits to such ungodly locations could help to stem the chances of being fallen victim of criminal attacks like rape.

4. Avoid meeting new people in isolated locations or venues. When fixing appointments with new people, do not go to their abode without any form of security because you easily be overpowered and raped. In the same vein, do not ask them to come to your place as the criminal minded people may take a step or more ahead of you. Agree to meet new contacts at neutral venues like fast food arena, public parks and amusements packs, cinemas, or even at bus stops, and so on. Start your meeting and end it there. Do all you can to avoid free ride from such a new person. Return back to your base on your own.

5. Don’t take anybody for granted. Trust no one. Always be on the side of caution at all times. Do not believe that a particular person cannot do something funny, no matter how close the person is to you. The moment you start thinking that somebody is special and cannot rape you, then you have created room for it to happen. If you do not want to be defiled and violated sexually then you have to watchful. Remember that certain presidents of some powerful nations in the world have at one time or the other attacked and raped women. It is that bad and shameful.

6. Avoid over dependence on a person/people for solutions to all your issues. Are you the type that is perpetually dependent on other people for one thing or the other? It is time you start building your capacity to provide solutions to your own peculiar challenges. The person you are seeing as your Father Christmas may also be having his own agenda concerning what he/she is giving you. He may be expecting something in turn for what he is giving you. There is no free lunch anywhere. Not even in Freetown. You need to learn the act of independence in finding solutions to your problems. This is especially the case for those who depend on others for financial assistance for ever. Do not be surprised if one day the giver decides to shock you by saying it is sex for money. You may be defenceless in such situation.

7. Avoid discussing your personal or marital issues with wrong persons. It is advisable you mind the kind of people you share your private information with. This is even more serious when it comes to information on intimacy either among couples or would-be couples. Such information that bother on sexual attitudes, sex preferences, sex positions, frequency of sex, sex venues/locations, and so on may mean very little to you but they are gold mine to rapists and other sex offenders.

8. Effective Parental Monitoring. Have effective monitoring system for those assisting in taking care of your children. Do not leave the role of parenting to strangers in your house that you called nannies, housemaids, relatives and friends. They will appear to be helping you to ease your burden of parenting. At least that is how you define their roles. But the reality is that some of these people are responsible for the first form of sexual assault, abuses and violations your children will first experience in their lives. Get this point right. Some of these domestic care givers are very good. The point is that no matter how good they are, they are not substitutes to your roles as parents. You still need to be getting feedbacks on how your home is being run in your absence and to know if your children’s welfare is being safeguarded, using different techniques.

9. Parent-child bonding. Parents should be very close to children. Do you know your children? How much of your children’s character do you know? Do your children know you? How much of you do they know? The closer you are to your children and the closer they are to you the better. All of these will ensure that they are bonded to you. You become their confidant and they become your confidants as well. This way if there is any new development you will be the first person they will share the information with. Where the reverse is the case, they will start keeping information about their experience away from you.

10. Avoid places where there is high security risk. War ravaged areas are high risk areas where women and children are highly vulnerable to rape and other forms of violations. It is advisable that such areas should be avoided as much as possible. The same goes for areas where activities of bandits and kidnappers are highly active. On daily basis people are being raped in such areas with most cases not reported for obvious reasons. Many of the abducted Chibok school girls released were already mothers when they were released. This could not have been by their own volition but by force. All these are pointers to the fact that flight to safety, especially for women and children are inevitable.

11. Avoid pornographic movies. Exposure to porn films arouses the erotic feeling among the viewers of such contents. The feeling becomes more vociferous when a male and females are watching the movies together. Nobody can guarantee what the final result will be. What this means is that if you do not want to be raped, violated and sexually assaulted kindly avoid a scene such as this. Even at individual level, constantly being exposed to adult contents ignites an uncontrollable urge for sex that is capable of making the person involved to want to commit rape. So the take here is avoid pornography.

12. Effective sex education. This should be introduced to all children as early as possible, beginning from the family and nursery/primary schools. The contents of the programme at every stage should include, but limited to, the following: sex, sex abuse, early and unwanted pregnancy, definition and explanation of rape, who are the potential rapists and predators, the methods predators used to get their victims, what to do when they detect predators, who they should call for help among others.

13. Enhanced security architecture around your home and other places. Where it is possible, close circuit television should be installed in strategic locations to ensure that everything happening can be tracked and monitored. Lighting up everywhere is important to improve illumination. At homes, children’s rooms should not be locked when they are inside the room. This is even more important if they are sharing their rooms with domestic workers.

14. Avoid late night movements. Late night movements should be done away with as much as possible. Failure to observe this can give you or your loved ones away to rapists and other criminals. If at all there is a compelling need to move around at night, try and do so in the company of other people. You should do this in environment where and when human traffic is reasonably high.

15. Avoid mingling with bad guys/gals. Some friends are very good and highly supportive. They are truly friends indeed. However, there are some bad guys/gals that should not be mistaken for friends. They are pretenders that are masquerading as friends. The earlier you discover who they real are the better. Just flee for safety. They may be potential rapists or brokers who will deliver you to the rapists for a token. So mind the company you keep. What they are after when they hover around you is to influence your behavior in such a way as to make you vulnerable to sexual assault.

16. Avoid cultism. Do you have any cultist as a friend, relation, or colleague? If your answer is yes then you in a deep shit. Cultists are violent by the nature of their association. Everywhere is awash with reports of the cults and their members attacking and raping innocent people on daily basis. In several instances they kill their victims after raping them.

17. Self-restraint and discipline. Do everything with moderation. Exercise some restraints. Too much of everything, they say is bad. Remember your predators can capitalize on your excessive behavior to rape you. For example, there was a case of a female chief lecturer in one of the colleges of education who was over drunk at one the college’s events. She was so drunk that she started vomiting publicly. One of the junior non-academic staff who pretended to be helping her to cover up her shame intervened by taking her to her personal office within the college. He washed her face for her. Thereafter he exploited the situation to have several rounds of sex with her, removing her undies and bra for keep. Of course he also took some videos and photos of the encounter with his phone before leaving. He came back the next day to return the undies and bra to the same female lecturer, telling her he mistakenly took them home yesterday after their meeting. This, with the videos and photos taken, became the blackmailing tools that the junior staff was using to continue to enjoy unrestricted sexual engagements with the female senior lecturer for more than five years. Can you imagine that? Just one mistake. And the predator turned it to an opportunity he exploited for five years.

18. Avoid any controversy that could lead to blackmail. What is that thing you are found of doing that is not pleasing to know by others? This can be used to blackmail you who may ask for sex if you want them to help you keep the secret. Getting you caught cheating on your spouse can be used as blackmailing tool to get you down by the predators. A child who is caught picking his/her parents’ money could be blackmailed by the housemaid, uncle, aunty, or sibling, using this discovery. In a desperate attempt to get the matter closed the victim may be compelled to succumb to the blackmail by reluctantly accepting to sleep with the predator.

19. Avoid food and drinks whose source you cannot ascertain. Your food and drink can be drugged by the predator or his/her agents to make you unconscious. Once this is done, the predator have his/her way and the deed is done. Recently, a former housemaid shared the experience of how her virginity was taken by her employer’s son when she was 15 years after giving her a drugged bottle of soft drink. She did not know anything until the following morning when she discovered that she was slept with and she had lost her virginity.

The Nature and Consequences of Rape on the Victims Part 3

Fourteen consequences of rape on the victims were identified and explained in the Part 2 of this write up. Now we are faced with how to address cases of rape and the impacts on the victims. This is what will be focus of this section of the write up.:
Post rape remedies and treatments.
1. Discuss it immediately. There is temptation to conceal information on rape by the rape victims most probably because of stigmatization. This is a disservice to oneself. The greatest way to address this is to summon courage to talk about it to your couple and other relevant family members. Doing this gives some measure of relief. It also enables the victims’ partners to know about the new reality they have to contend with and how to go ahead and manage the situation at hand. The initial reaction may not be too palatable. Of course it won’t be palatable. But the earlier they get to know and accept the reality the better for the family. The most painful and disruptive of it will be for your spouse to get to know about this much later when so much harm would have been done. It will be worse for the spouse to hear this from a third party.

2. Involvement of the law enforcement agents. Report the case of rape to the relevant law enforcement agencies, especially the police or human rights groups. This is very important for timely intervention by the agencies in the apprehensions of the criminals and further investigations that will help in the subsequent prosecution of the predators. This is because the longer the delay the more complicated the case becomes and vice versa. Physical evidence of the case can be destroyed with time and the predator can be left to go off the hook for want of evidence. Apart from this such timely intervention can help to safeguard the life of the victim whose life may be at risk in the absence of law enforcement agencies like the police.

3. Medical tests and treatments. Arrangements should be made to ensure necessary medical tests are carried out on the victims to gather facts and evidence that will help in further investigation. Apart from this, such tests are needed to determine the extent of damage/injuries done to the victims. Such tests are also important to ascertain if the victims have been infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). All these will suggest the kind of treatments to be administered on the victims. The results of the test will go a long way to help the police in their investigations and prosecution of the alleged rapists.

4. Psychiatric treatment or psychosocial therapy. This is necessary in managing post rape traumatic experience that may serve as source of distraction in the lives of the rape victims. The trauma and weird experience that go with rape could be very horrible and devastating. This may linger on for months and in some cases it could be for years. Each time the experience flashes across the mind of the victim it is like the experience is repeated and the reaction to it assumes a new dimension. Sometimes the victims are withdrawn to themselves as they distance themselves from the people around them. There are cases of victims who literally go mad as a result of their rape encounter. This obviously requires adequate psychosocial treatments to make sure that things do not go out of hand.

5. Re-integration into the society to minimize or remove impact of stigmatization. The post rape rehabilitation should also involve social and communal integration of the victims. This is necessary to prevent the feeling of being isolated by the victims. This starts with non-discriminatory attitude towards the victims by their respective community members, especially their family members. Family members should constitute effective social support group to their members. This has a way of accelerating the healing process of the victims. Joining social groups/clubs that provide support services to rape victims is also an important step in this regard. Religious organisations and groups are required to be in the fore front of renewed agitation for effective re-integration of rape victims into their families, marriages, churches, mosques, places of work, and other social institutions.

6. Confidentiality. Post rape handling of the rape victims should be done with utmost respect for their privacy. All the cases relating to rape should be handled with high degree of professionalism by all the professionals involved like the police officers, especially the investigative police officers (IPOs), lawyers, judges, journalists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and others. Where necessary names and true identity of the victims should not be dropped any how in the public domain except where there is a various reason to do otherwise.