RAPE,THE VICTIM AND GETTING HELP
Written by Carol Martin
It is my intent with article to help victims of rape. For them to know they are not alone, and that is help out there for them. This is a very hard thing for the vitims to overcome. With help and the law they can go on to live and overcome the the emotions that come with being raped.
I cannot take credit for most of this article, all the facts are gathered from the Web and 2 groups that I felt were working in the best interest of the growing problem. I want to thank these oganizations for all that they are doing to help all rape victims whether they are women , men, children or senior citizens.
I read in the dictionary what the word rape means and this is what it said;
WEBSTER DICITIONARY DEFINITIONS OF RAPE:
The crime of having sexual intercourse with a WOMAN OR GIRL forcibly and without HER constent, with a girl below the age of 18 years, any act of sexual upon a person. the act of seizing and carrying away by force
the plundering or voilent destruction; to commit rape on ;ravish voilate; to plunder or destroy
I have never been touched by this personally however I know many that have and the feelings and emotions that they go through touched me so much that I felt this should be address with a knowledge that I did not pocess and those that did.
DISCLOSURE: The information within this page is relative to the above topic. In no way should it be taken as a replacement for or an adjunct to professional and/or medical advice.
RAPE THE DEFINITION FROM ONE GROUP
Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact or attention. It is an assault which can be caused by any force either physical or non physical. The force can take the form of threats, bribes, manipulation, or violence. It can be verbal, visual, audio, vaginal, anal, oral, or any other form which forces an individual to participate in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Sexual assault includes rape and attempted rape in the forms of date and aquaintance rape, marital rape, and stranger rape. It also includes child molestation, voyeurism, exhibitionism, incest, and sexual harassment. Sexual assault can be committed by adults, children, males, females, strangers friends, dates, aquaintances or relatives. Anyone can be sexually assaulted, regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, economic, ethnic or religious heritage.
REMEMBER! SEXUAL ASSAULT IS A CRIME.
If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ASSAULTED:
1. Try to go to a safe place.
2. If you can, call someone you trust like a friend or a member of your family. You may call a rape crisis counselor or have someone call one for you.
3. It is important to get medical attention as soon as possible. This is not only important in case of injury, but also to protect against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. A
standardized "rape kit" examination may be performed in case of possible future criminal prosecution. The rape kit is sealed and submitted to the Police crime lab. Results are only used in case of prosecution. No matter what your decision about prosecuting the offender, a rape kit is highly recommended.
4. Do not wash, comb, or clean any part of your body. Do not change clothes if possible. Do not touch or change anything at the scene of the assault. This insures evidence preservation in case of future criminal prosecution.
5.A sexual assault survivor has three options when filing a police report: a report can be filed with the intent of prosecuting the offender, a report can be filed but without the intent of prosecuting, or a third party report can be filed where the survivor remains anonymus (the survivor's name is withheld from the report) and no prosecution takes place. It is the survivor's right to change their mind at any time during the judicial process.
6. Because sexual assault is a crime of violence, emotions such as shock, anger, shame, guilt, and fear or a combination of those feelings are normal. It is important to get counseling from a trusted and professional counselor and/or to join a support group. No one should have to face the trauma of sexual assault alone.
SEXUAL ASSAULT IS NOT YOUR FAULT
IF YOUR SEXUAL ASSAULT IS IN THE PAST WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
1.If an assault has taken place within the past six years and the survivor was over 18 years of age when the assault took place, criminal charges may still be brought against the offender. If the offense occured before the survivor was 18 years of age, charges may be brought until the survivor is either 21 years of age or six years after the most recent assault (whichever is later). If the survivor wishes to prosecute, charges should be filed with a law enforcement agency which will then present the information to the prosecuting attorney's office.
2. If the survivor is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (long term psychological, emotional and/or physical symptoms due to the stress caused by the assault), counseling and support groups may be of help.
RAPE VITIMS ADVOCATES
The History of RVA
Rape Victim Advocates was formed in 1974 by obstetrician/gynecologist Natalie Stephens, M.D., and a group of Northwestern University medical students concerned about survivors of sexual assault. They recognized that standard hospital resources were not sufficient for the special needs of the survivor. These founding advocates educated themselves about Rape Trauma Syndrome a cluster of physical and emotional responses experienced by nearly all those who experience sexual assault, identified by Burgess and Holmstrom in the course of their work as counselors of survivors of sexual assault at Boston City Hospital, Boston Mass.
In July of 1975, RVA began working with the emergency room staff of Grant Hospital. The advocates volunteered to be on call for grant in 12 to 24 hour shifts, assuring that, at any given time, a volunteer would be available to serve the survivors of sexual assault. By 1997, RVA was serving sixteen hospitals throughout Chicago.
Today, RVA continues to expand the number of hospitals it serves. Our advocates are available to provide service to survivors of sexual assault 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We also offer sexual assault crisis intervention training to hospitals with in-house volunteer programs. RVA encourages anyone concerned with the well-being of survivors of sexual assault to join us in serving them, their families, and Chicago communities. RVA has a satellite office in Cook County Hospital and a satellite office in the Austin Community.
Dispelling the Myths
According to Diana Russell's 1978 survey of 930 randomly selected adult female residents of San Francisco, approximately 44% of women are victimized by rape or attempted rape at some time in their lives.
Of the percentage of women surveyed who reported a rape or attempted rape experience, 50% reported more than one assault or attempted assault experience. Russel's findings show that, at most, only 30% of stranger rapes and 1% of date rapes are ever reported to the police.
Some estimates indicate that every six minutes of every day someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. Myths abound about sexual assault. Some of the most common myths, along with facts that dispel them are:
MYTH: Sexual assault is a crime of passion and lust.
Sexual assault is a crime of violence. Assailants seek to dominate, humiliate and punish their victims.
MYTH: You cannot be assaulted against your will.
Assailants overpower their victims with the threat of violence or with actual violence. Especially in cases of acquaintance rape or incest, an assailant often uses the victim's trust in him to isolate her.
MYTH: It is impossible for a husband to sexually assault his wife.
Regardless of marital or social relationship, if a woman does not consent to sexual activity, she is being sexually assaulted. In fact, 14% of women are victims of rape committed by their husband.
MYTH: A person who has really been assaulted will be hysterical.
Survivors exhibit a spectrum of emotional responses to assault: calm, hysteria, laughter, anger, apathy, shock. Each survivor copes with the trauma of the assault in a different way.
MYTH: Sexual assault is an impulsive act.
Seventy-five percent of all assaults are planned in advance. When three or more assailants are involved, 90% are planned. If two assailants are involved, 83% are planned. With one assailant, 58% are planned.
MYTH: Assailants are usually crazed psychopaths who do not know their victims.
As many as 80% of all assaults involve acquaintances. An assailant might be someone you know intimately. He may be a coworker, a friend or a family member.
MYTH: Gang rape is rare.
In 43% of all reported cases, more than one assailant was involved.
MYTH: Many women claim that they have been sexually assaulted because they want revenge upon the man they accuse.
Only 4-6% of sexual assault cases are based on false accusation. This percentage of unsubstantiated cases is the same as with many other reported crimes.
MYTH: Persons who dress or act in a "sexy" way are asking to be sexually assaulted.
Many convicted sexual assailants are unable to remember what their victims looked like or were wearing. Nothing a person does or does not do causes a brutal crime like sexual assault.
MYTH: In most cases, black men attack white women.
In most sexual assault cases, the assailant and his victim are of the same racial background.
MYTH: All women secretly want to be raped.
Women, like all human beings, want a life of dignity and safety. Sexual assault robs a person of dignity and a sense of personal safety. No one wants the physical and emotional pain caused by sexual assault.
MYTH: Only young, pretty women are assaulted.
Survivors range in age from infancy to old age, and their appearance is seldom a consideration. Assailants often choose victims who seem most vulnerable to attack: old persons, children physically or emotionally disabled persons, substance abusers, and street persons. Men are also attacked.
MYTH: It is impossible to sexually assault a man.
Men fall victim for the same reasons as women: they are overwhelmed by threats or acts of physical and emotional violence. Also, most sexual assaults that involve an adult male victim are gang assaults.
MYTH: As long as children remember to stay away from strangers, they are in no danger of being assaulted.
Sadly, children are usually assaulted by acquaintances; a family member or other caretaking adult. Children are usually coerced into sexual activity by their assailant, and are manipulated into silence by the assailants threats and/or promises, as well as their own feelings of guilt.
Rape Trauma Syndrome
Although every survivor you encounter will be unique, each will have one thing in common:Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS). Identified by Ann Wolbert Burgess and Lynda Lytle Holmstrom, RTS is a cluster of emotional responses to the extreme stress experienced by the survivor during the sexual assault. More specifically, RTS is a response to the profound fear of death that almost all survivors experience during the assault. RTS occurs in two phases:
1. The Acute (Initial) Phase, which usually lasts anywhere from a few days to a few weeks after the attack.
The Acute Phase
2. The Reorganization Phase, which usually lasts anywhere from a few weeks to several days after the attack.
Often, the end of the Acute Phase will overlap the beginning of the Reorganization Phase. Each phase is characterized by particular emotional and physical concerns that most survivors experience.
During this phase, the survivor experiences a complete disruption of her life, responding to the fear of death she experienced. She may display any of a number of disparate emotional responses. She may cry, shout, swear, laugh nervously, discuss the weather, or sit calmly. Her responses may vary depending on any one of a number of external circumstances. No response is inappropriate!
However, responses fall into one of two main styles:
If a survivor uses the Expressed style, she openly displays her emotions. She may be agitated and restless, talk a lot, cry, swear, shout, laugh. Any emotion is appropriate--because she has her own way of responding.
If a survivor uses the Controlled style, she contains her emotions. Most of the survivor's energy is directed toward maintaining composure. She may sit calmly, respond to questions in a detached, logical way, and downplay her fear, sadness, anger, and anxiety.
Both of these styles of emotional response reflect different ways of dealing with a crisis. She may also exhibit characteristics of both styles.
In general, the survivor's initial response to the assault will be shock and disbelief. She may appear numb. Far from being inappropriate, this response provides an emotional "time-out" during which the survivor can acknowledge and begin to process the myriad components of the experience. A survivor who was assaulted by an acquaintance may have a particularly difficult time overcoming shock and disbelief. If the assault was particularly terrifying or brutal, the survivor may experience an extreme shock response and completely block out the assault.
Following the shock and disbelief most survivors initially experience, she may experience a variety of emotions or mood swings. She may feel angry, afraid, lucky to be alive, humiliated, dirty, vengeful, degraded. All of these responses, as well as the many that are not listed, are normal. In short, whatever she's feeling is valid because she's feeling it, and it is how she expresses her reaction to the rape crisis.
Physical concerns of the Acute Phase
Usually, the survivor will report a general soreness throughout her body. She will also report pain in the specific areas of the body that were targeted during the assault. These specific pains may be the result of actual physical trauma, or may be a psychosomatic response. Both reasons are equally valid and real
The survivor will probably notice a disruption in her usual sleeping and eating patterns. She may not be able to eat or sleep, or may eat more than usual and be unable to stay awake. She may report nightmares in which she relives the assault. These may evolve into dreams in which the survivor takes the violent role in some way, in effect reclaiming the control lost during the assault.
Although both types of dreams may upset her, they are part of the healing process. Sexual assault is such a traumatic event that the survivor may dream about it in some way throughout her life.
The Reorganization Phase
During this phase of RTS, the survivor reorganizes herself and life after the sexual assault. Basically, she learns to cope again.
Several factors influence the survivor's ability to reorganize her life after the sexual assault:
What coping mechanisms does she already possess? How successfully has she coped with stress and trauma in the past?
Does she have a strong system of friends and family for emotional support? Are they treating her with empathy? Does she feel she can go to them?
Existing Life Problems
Prior Sexual Victimization.
Was the survivor assaulted previously, especially within the last two years? If so, recovery may be much more difficult.
Emotional Concerns of the Reorganization Phase
The concerns the survivor has may fall into any of four groups:
She may experience some difficulty returning to pre-assault social patterns. She may feel an increased distrust toward others in general and an increased suspicion of men in particular. She may have a shorter temper, or easily break into tears. Some reactions may be the result of a specific component of the assault.
For example, if the survivor was assaulted while alone, she may want to be with other people constantly. If she was gang-assaulted, she may withdraw socially and rely on a few significant others for companionship and support. The survivor's social patterns after the assault may depend less upon the conditons of the assault and more upon the survivor's personality.
Many survivors feel a strong need to "get away." She may visit parents. She may move, especially if she was assaulted at home. She may change jobs or leave school. All these actions are "normal" in that they represent what the survivor needs to do in order to regain control over her life.
Denial of the effects of the assault, or of the assault itself, is a common reaction during the reorganization phase. Denial may be a component of the survivor's recovery, since it gives her space to catch her breath before beginning the stressful task of processing and resolving the trauma. Denial that lasts longer than a few hours or days, however, is detrimental to her recovery.
Depression, guilt, and a general loss of self-esteem are all common psychological reactions. These symptoms suggest that she has turned her anger inward, and that she has unresolved fears. Remind her that she is in no way responsible for the assault and that nothing she did could ever justify the violence she has experienced. Encourage her to direct these negative feelings toward the assailant and away from herself.
The survivor may experience phobic reactions to stimuli that remind her of the assault or her assailant. Phobic reactions are extreme manifestations of anxiety.
For example, if the survivor was assaulted outdoors, she may be afraid to leave the house. If the assailant had alcohol on his breath, this odor may remind her of the assault and make her nauseous. She may experience a general paranoia, or panic attacks.
The assault may disrupt the sexual life of the survivor because sex, which usually involves pleasure, was instead used as a weapon to humiliate, control and punish. It will probably take some time for the survivor to disassociate the sexual assault from consensual sex.
Acts the assailant forced her to do that she was not used to doing will probably cause particular difficulty. She may experience physical pain during sex, have difficulty relaxing, or be generally indifferent to sex.
At the other extreme, she may desire sex all the time. Most likely, her behavior will fall between these two extremes.
If the survivor was a virgin at the time of the assault, she may have a heightened fear of her first consensual sexual encounter.
The survivor may be concerned about her partner's reaction to her. She may wonder if her partner will feel differently toward her. Because of the range of stresses the survivor experiences after an assault, consensual sexual relationships and other friendships can be placed under heavy strain.
Current statistics indicate that about half of all survivors lose their love relationships within a year of sexual assault.
The survivor may report continuing gynecological/genital problems. If she was physically beaten, the survivor may continue to experience pain. Sexually transmitted diseases are a further concern, as well as pregancy. Nightmares may also continue. If they continue in a manner that makes her lose sleep or fills her waking hours, she might want to consider counseling.
An organization with two primary goals: to assure that survivors of sexual assault are treated with dignity; and to affect changes in the way the legal system, medical institutions and society as a whole respond to survivors.
Children and Sexual Assault
When the Victim is a Child
According to the 1978 Russell survey, one-quarter of females experienced sexual abuse before age 14, and well over one-third have had an abusive experience by the time they reached age 18.
One in nine boys will have experienced sexual assault during childhood or adolescence. Some experts believe that, allowing fir the underreporting of abuse against boys, the percentage of boys abused is the same as among girls.
At least 65-75% of prostitutes were sexually abused as children (Boyer and James, 1982; Enablers Study, Minneapolis). Although assailants abuse children for many of the same reasons they assault adults, the needs of the child survivor may be different from the adult survivor.
As with any survivor, you must assure the child that she is not to blame for the assault. This is especially important if the child was assaulted while breaking a "rule" (i.e., the child left the house without permission). Assure the child that the assault was not a punishment for breaking the rules. Tell the survivor that she is safe now and that she did the right thing by telling. Address the child's concerns and feelings of confusion, shame, fear, betrayal, and guilt. Be certain that you communicate with the child in a way that she can understand.
Sexual assault of children takes a variety of forms. It can be perpetrated by individuals acquainted with the child to varying degrees, may occur over short or long periods of time, and may be accompanied by varying levels of physical violence. The speed and success of the child survivor's recovery depends in large part upon the degree to which the four factors later described played a role in the assault.
Degree of intimacy/acquaintance between the survivor and the assailant
Contrary to popular myth, the child sexual assailant is generally not a crazed pervert lurking in the bushes. The Russell survey noted above found that 89% of child sexual assault cases involve persons known to the survivor, such as a caregiver or a family acquaintance.
Most reported cases of incest involve a father and a daughter. The entire family unit is often dysfunctional in cases of incest.
Assault committed by a relative or caretaker involves more trauma to the child survivor because the child's trust has been betrayed and her sense of personal safety within her family is disrupted. The child may also feel betrayed by other family members (mother, siblings) who could have intervened but did not.
Child sexual abuse that occurs over an extended period of time typically involves five phases:
The engagement phase is usually subtle and non-violent in nature. The child is usually offered gifts, money or affection as inducement by the perpetrator.
The secrecy phase is usually a continuation of the physical contact and mental coercion begun in the first phase. The child is made to feel guilty and ashamed, and is reminded of her participation to seal the silence.
The coercion phase is characterized by an increase in pressure on the child to keep the abuse secret. At this stage, advanced sexual contact and threats of violence are often made.
The disclosure phase marks a time that the child either is able to tell someone about the abuse, or the abuse is discovered by some other means. Many years may elapse between the third and fourth phases.
The validation phase brings affirmation for the child's feelings about the abuse. During this phase it is vital that the child be believed and that the reponsibility for the assault be placed firmly upon the assailant and not the victim. Also, every effort must be made to protect the child from further abuse and/or retaliation for telling.
Since assault by strangers is more easily accepted as an "accident," the child survivor does not have to deal with issues of trust and safety within the family. A child's revovery from assault by a stranger is usually more rapid than that from that of a caretaker or a relative.
The period of time over which the abuse occurs.
Long-term, repeated abuse (characteristic of incest) is more traumatic to the child survivor than a single incident of assault (characteristic of stranger assault) because the long-term abuse may involve extreme psychological pressure, causing confusion and guilt in the child.
A child is more likely to report a one-time event to parents or other caregivers, who may then help the child understand what happened.
The relative intrusiveness of the abuse
The more intrusive the contact, (i.e., penetration, oral sex, genital fondling) the more traumatic for the child survivors.
Genereally, incest situations involve abusive contact progressing from lesser, though still traumatic contact (i.e, sexual talk, pornography, unwanted kisses, hugs, touching of legs, buttocs, clothed breasts or genitals) to the more intrusive abuse over time.
The way in which the child was engaged in sexual activity
Although actual physical violence wil exacerbate the trauma of assault for the child, a child survivor who was tricked into sexual activity may have a more difficult time recovering from assault later. As with adult survivors who were not physically harmed, the child survivor who was emotionally overpowered may not be believed as readily by others, and may feel that she could have done something to stop or prevent the abuse.
The child survivor will probably be very concerned about her parents. Children are extremely sensitive to their parents' emotions and may internalize some of the stress and anger that the parent is experiencing. Especially in incest situations, she may be concerned that she is to blame for breaking up the family. Assure her that, whatever happens, she is not to blame. Do not promise, however, that her parents do not blame her. Although it may be difficult to accept, it is possible that they do blame the child for the assault.
The law requires that all cases of child abuse, in any form, be reported to the authorities. Unfortunately, the system often does not work on behalf of the victim. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the child will be protected as a result of reporting the incident to the proper authorities.
Where is got some information
What is Sexual Assault?
What Is Sexual Assault?
An organization with two primary goals: to assure that survivors of sexual assault are treated with dignity; and to affect changes in the way the legal system, medical institutions and society as a whole respond to survivors.
Rape Victim Advocates
Rape is a volient intrusion of ones personal space and feelings. There are many other areas of help, most states man rape hotlines 24 hours a day 7days a week and the people that you speak with are very often people who have been there and know the array of emotions and feelings that the person calling is feeling. They also provide help in telling you how to get help. I would encourage anyone who has been raped if they feel they do not know what to do, to call one of the hotline and let them walk you through it and help you in any way they can.
Alway remember Rape is not your fault