Rape, Sexual Assault, and Crisis Intervention

Table of Contents

Introduction

Rape is a form of sexual assault that involves sexual intercourse with an individual without their consent (Horvath & Brown, 2013). It is usually perpetrated through physical force, coercion, or through taking advantage of helpless individuals such as unconscious or paralyzed people. Effects of rape include physical harm, diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and psychological disturbance. Children and adolescent girls are the most vulnerable individuals. The heinous act is also perpetrated against men, mostly young boys. A recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Statistics revealed that more than 91% of all rape victims are female, while 9% are male (Horvath & Brown, 2013). This revealed that women are the most affected and vulnerable. Rape also happens in marriage where one partner forcefully engages in sexual intercourse with the other without their consent. Enactment of stringent sex laws and educational programs are effective methods of preventing rape.

Dynamics of rape

Rape occurs when an individual uses force or cunning means to have sexual intercourse with another person without his or her consent. Females are the most vulnerable between the two genders. The most common form of rape is that which involves assault of women by men. However, there are also cases of women raping men, and men raping men. Multiple or group rapes are also common, and mostly involve adolescent girls (Welch & Mason, 2007). Group rape mostly involves young boys and young girls. Older women and children are rarely involved. The most vulnerable groups of people include young women, people with disabilities, poor people, and sex workers (Welch & Mason, 2007). Individuals who perpetrate rape are usually motivated by need for power and control. For example, many cases of spousal rape occur because one partner seeks to dominate the other.

Social and psychosocial factors

The social and psychological effects of rape are severe and affect the lives of victims adversely. Post-traumatic effects experienced by victims depend on perception, injuries incurred, repeat traumatisation, personal meaning of trauma, and being a rape victim (Welch & Mason, 2007). Rape victims are at high risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorders compared to individuals who have not undergone sexual assault. Many victims experience strong emotional reactions after rape (Williams, 2000). They express an array of post-traumatic symptoms. These include anxiety, helplessness, self-blame, lack of concentration, and intense fear (Horvath & Brown, 2013). Some victims overcome these effects quickly but others take long to adjust. Long-term effects include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and mental health problems. Most victims experience social problems. The experience problems with adjusting to social situations and many prefer to spend time in seclusion (Williams, 2000). The shame and guilt that victims experience after such ordeals affect their lives significantly. They feel unworthy and inferior for what they experienced. It is important for health practitioners to help victims cope with such experiences without developing denial.

Prevention

Types of rape include date rape, gang rape, spousal rape, statutory rape, prison rape, and war rape (Williams, 2000). There are several ways of preventing rape. Preventive measures can be classified into three groups: individual initiatives, health care responses, and community-based programs. It is the responsibility of individuals to take care of themselves in order to avoid exposing themselves to rapists. For example, they should avoid unsafe places, stay away from suspicious individuals, avoid interactions with strangers, and shun places with unfamiliar people (Williams, 2000). It is also important to avoid deserted areas. Avoiding irresponsible behaviors such as excessive alcohol consumption and flirting with strangers is an effective preventive measure against rape (Welch & Mason, 2007). Healthcare providers should advocate for enactment of policies and laws that discourage rape. In addition, they should provide information that could help to identify individuals who are at risk, and ways to avoid rape (Williams, 2000). Communities play a critical role also. Their role is to improve safety in the neighborhoods and provide programs that take care of victims. Sex workers should ensure that they work in groups and should avoid working during hours that increase risks of attack. Finally, it is important for people who are at risk to know about rape. For example, what motivates rape, predisposing factors, ways to avoid rape, and protocols used to report cases of attempted rape (Welch & Mason, 2007).

Conclusion

Rape is the act of having sexual intercourse with a person without their consent. It takes place through use of physical force, coercion, or taking advantage of disabled or unconscious people. Types of rape include date rape, gang rape, spousal rape, statutory rape, prison rape, and war rape. Rape has severe psychological and social consequences. Many victims develop depression, mental problems, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some people overcome trauma associated with rape within short periods. However, others deal with it for many years. In some cases, health care professionals use medical remedies to treat victims. Preventive measures include individual initiatives, healthcare responses, and community programs. People who are at risk of rape should be responsible for their own safety. For example, they should avoid flirting with strangers, abusing alcohol, and using drugs because they increase risk of rape.

References

Horvath, M., & Brown, J. (2013). Rape: Challenging Contemporary Thinking. New York: Routledge.

Welch, J., & Mason, F. (2007). Rape and Sexual Assault. British Medical Journal, 334(7604), 1154-1158.

Williams, M. (2000). Rape. New York: Cengage Gale.

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