Rape and its psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact on vic­tims

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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.

‘Male­pheana Lepheana-psy­chol­o­gist.

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