Rape and its psychological impact on victims
RAPE is one of the most traumatic types of abuse experienced daily, reported but sometimes lately. It is hurtful that in some cases a family addresses rape cases in favour of rapists at the expense of both biological and intimate relationships.
This happens in acquaintance rape which is committed by someone known to the victim such as a daughter who is raped by her father, a niece by aunt, a nephew by uncle and a grandmother by grandson etc. It also includes instances of daughters being raped by the partners of their mothers such as a case reported in Naleli, Maseru.
Most women feel like their partners will play father figure roles to their children, but sometimes it does not happen as expected. Another type of rape is date rape which is committed by someone with whom the victim has gone on a date. Normally, a rapist would have researched well for the place to be convenient for his intention while the victim might not thought of any negative consequences.
Gang rape is another type of rape which is done by group of rapists which make a streamline to one victim. It actually starts with one influential group member and others join. There is also multiple rape which happens frequently by one rapist to one victim.
Sometimes it happens in a form of kidnapping and the rapist does it whenever he wishes. This is a case with Boko Haram. Multiple rape also happens with men who rape nannies when their wives leave the houses for different reasons that the action becomes a normal behaviour between those sex partners.
Another controversial type is marital rape. In marriage, sexual intercourse is the celebration, appreciation and expression of love. It needs to be done in a good and healthy environment so that the mind will send the message to the body and the body will release the relevant sex hormones to prepare the body for the action.
If the environment was tense and one of the partners is not ready, and is forced to be involved, this qualifies as marital rape. In some places, women experience stranger rape by rapists who are not identified but rape women who pass at a certain place. The place is often in remote areas where movement is scarce.
Statutory rape is another common type which happens between men/women and young girls/boys. It was reported recently that a teacher had sexual intercourse with a boy aged 17. This means that anyone with romantic relationship with a minor does this type regardless of agreements made because a minor has not developed assertive decisionmaking skills.
There is also prison rape which is done by prisoners to others, especially the new detainees. It is very traumatic and highly infectious because of its anal nature. This is why condoms and other preventive including treatment methods are distributed in prisons. Other types are serial rape, forcible rape, unplanned and attempted rape.
Attempted rape is called as such because many people prefer to give hugs and sometimes sex hormones arouse the body sexually due to the hug. Once the body is sexually aroused and the service is not offered, that is attempted rape.
Men are motivated to rape by several reasons such as being abused by women in childhood. Others have a history of violent behaviour against men as well as women. Sometimes we embrace or ignore the behaviour in childhood thinking that it will stop. In many cases the behaviour develops personality, becomes normal behaviour and finally lifestyle.
Many rapists feel anger towards women while others want to dominate and control women. In serious cases, many rapists were found to have weak sex drive that is hard to control. It is also discovered that other rapists intent to humiliate and injure women. This happens to dignified women whom men want to degrade that woman. We also hear cases that a woman was raped, badly wounded, robbed or killed by rapists who want credit from their criminal squat.
Rape victims experience all types of abuse because they are emotionally traumatised, physically affected by any form of damage that van be made, economically affected by consulting medical practitioners and verbally stigmatised by the society. Rape can develop several psychological disorders such as phobia, post-traumatic stress etc. Research also shows that it causes marital problems in future.
A rape victim may have memories in marriage when the husband touches her the way or in a body part that the rapist touched. It is a need that rape victims get counselling from psychologists for identifying and addressing relevant psychological disorders, dealing with victim’s emotional impact, assisting normalising the behaviour and adjusting to life challenges relevant to case; and to providing and establishing social support in all forms by all relatives and other stakeholders.