Rape a social crime

Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent.

The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability, or is below the legal age of consent.

The rate of reporting, prosecuting and convicting for rape varies between jurisdictions. Internationally, the incidence of rape cases recorded by the police during 2008 range per 100,000 people worldwide. Rape is primarily committed by male against female.

Rape and sexual assault are among the most injurious crimes a person can inflict on another. The effects are devastating, extending beyond the initial victimisation to consequences such as unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, sleeping and eating disorders, and other emotional and physical problems.

Physically and medically, the effects on the victim could include contacting or transmission of diseases and also if the assailant has used violence during the assault, there could be injuries.
However, it is also worth considering physical effects that might arise in the future such as sexually transmitted infections. Physical and medical effects of rape are extra genital injuries, genital injury, hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydial infections. It also involves HIV infections and bacterial vaginitis.

Some health outcomes can be fatal such as suicide, homicide, maternal mortality and AIDS related deaths. A great deal of harm is done, often unintentionally, to survivors because the people around them believe the myths that surround rape.
Psychologically, rape effects lead to disassociation/emotional numbness. For many an initial reaction to being raped is one of shock and emotional numbness. Many people initially feel calm and shut off from what happened.

The feeling of embarrassment and shame is also another psychological effects of people who’ve been sexually assaulted. They feel embarrassed and shameful about what happened. Most of them find it difficult to discuss what has happened because of how they feel.

Furthermore, depression also as an effect of rape on victims can be expected as you start to come to terms while recovering from any major trauma or emotionally charged event. Dealing with the memory of the assault as well as the things that follow; the investigation and having medical examinations, can be extremely draining physically, mentally and psychologically.

Fear Depending on the circumstances you may feel fear about a number of things. You might have been physically threatened during the assault, you may be fearful of reporting to the police because you are worried about what this will lead to, you may feel reluctant to tell friends and family for fear of upsetting them.

Physically, rape affects and disturb victims normal routine of living and many aspects of their life. They may feel a strong need to get away and to make practical changes in their lives. Your priority should be to feel safe. Do whatever you need to do to get back your feelings of security and safety. Get a guard dog, install extra outside lights, leave interior lights on, get an alarm system, invite friends or family members to sleep over, buy hand held alarms, etc. It is not silly to want to protect yourself. Do what makes you feel comfortable and safe.
Despite all the negative effects therein, educating yourself allows you be rightfully informed, the need for raoe victims to brace up and move on with life is essential.

Benedicta Oluchi Ogechukwu,
Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri, Borno state.

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