About this sample
About this sample
4 pages /
4 pages /
Most people don’t laugh at the mention of murder. Theft is no joking matter, and the distribution of drugs is not taken lightly. Rape is illegal, and rightly so, however many do not consider it to be a violent issue. In fact, today’s society has categorized these circumstances into an abstract concept, called “rape culture.” In this, our society no longer thinks of rape as a serious matter; rather we avoid the topic or adopt it as an unavoidable issue.
Blame falls on the victim, when it should fall on the rapist. Often times, the victim of the assault is loaded down with guilt and shame, and our society attacks them rather than the perpetrator on trial. Rape is far more damaging than our society gives it credit for, injuring the victim physically, socially, and psychologically.
Rape is a significant problem in the United States. The word rape, or sexual assault, refers to a variety of behaviors that contain unwanted sexual contact. The FBI defines rape as “any kind of penetration of another person, regardless of gender, without the victim's consent”. The main defining aspect of rape is lack of consent. Sexual activity should not occur unless both individuals have expressed consent. Sheela Raja, a clinical psychologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says that “rape is non-consensual, the victim is in discomfort, fear, or feels intimidated (if they are conscious). As with any traumatic event, their bodily integrity is threatened by the very nature of the crime”.
Sexual assault is extremely common in today’s society, in fact, it is the most rapidly growing crime in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that approximately 876,000 rapes occur each year in the United States. Even more startling than that, approximately thirty percent of rapes that occur are actually reported. Thus, an estimated one million rapes occur in the U.S. every year. Eighty percent of rapes are committed by someone who knows the victim, and thirty-two percent of female victims and sixteen percent of the male victims were injured during the sexual assault.
Although the majority of sexual assault cases involve male perpetrators and female victims, five percent of reported rapes happen to male victims. Studies show that more than fifty percent of female victims and seventy percent of male victims were raped before their eighteenth birthday (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Rape is the most common crime on college campuses today, and it is also considered to be the most under-reported crime. The college and high school years have proven to be the years that women are most vulnerable, as most cases of rape are reported between the ages of 16 and 24.
Women are raped at a significantly higher rate than men, however men are more likely to report unwanted sexual contact. Fewer than five percent of women who have been assaulted actually report it to the police. Approximately twenty-five percent of college women and an estimated ten percent of college men have reported to have been victims of rape. A recent study done on both two-year and four-year colleges found an average of 35 rapes per 1,000 female students over seven months (Sampson).
The experience of a rape can have a colossal impact on a person's life. “Experiencing a rape can completely change a person’s life,” says Camtu Walker, the sexual assault consultant of the SAFE Shelter of Wilkes, in an interview. “The victim is violated in more ways than one.” Although rape victims frequently report injuries and concerns with their reproductive health, rape doesn't always involve physical force.
However, that does not make it any less of a mutilation. The most common results of rape involve concerns with mental health and a diminished social confidence. Rape is an awful crime with awful consequences, and a person who has been raped will generally experience many changes physically, socially, and psychologically (Joyful Heart Foundation).
Rape is a crime that violates the body and brings many physical damages to the forefront. Forced sexual assault often causes visible bruising or bleeding, and victims are more likely to experience digestive problems, seizures, and more intense premenstrual symptoms after experiencing sexual assault. Migraines are highly common, as well as arthritis in their pelvis or back. It is also possible for the victim to contract a sexually transmitted disease, leading to other physical health problems (Gluck).
One major physical consequence of rape is pregnancy. In ‘Fertility and Sterility’, the journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, it was reported that the risk of pregnancy from rape is the same as the risk of pregnancy from a consensual sexual encounter: 5%. More than 32,000 pregnancies result from rape every year, and more than eighty percent of those end up as abortions (ASRM). Rape is highly traumatic, and it is often hard for the victim to keep the baby. It serves as a living reminder of the incident, and affection is complicated. Consequently, this boosts abortion rates.
Those who are raped are highly susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases (STD's). In forced sexual interaction, abrasions and cuts commonly occur, making it easier to receive STDs. The most common of which is HIV/AIDS, which is transmittable through contact of the blood. In a study done by the National Violence against Women Survey, 30% of women who were raped reported to have contracted a STD (see Figure 1 on next page). Studies done on women in shelters had shown that women who experience sexual abuse from intimate partners are significantly more likely to contract a STD.
Socially, undergoing a sexual assault will have a huge impact on its victims. Victims may suffer from strained relationships with their family, friends, and intimate partners. Even though rape is performed without the victim's consent, the victim may feel guilt or shame from the incident. They may distance themselves from others, becoming introverted and opposed to public activities. Often, victims will become disconnected from their normal routines for a large period of time after the rape. They may avoid anything that might remind them of the incident. Their value of trust will be damaged, and this may lead to broken relationships as well. Research has also shown that those who have been a victim of rape have a less likelihood of marriage afterwards (Centers for Disease Control and Protection).
One major social consequence that can be seen in society today is called "victim blaming." Instead of condemning the rapists for the incident, society places the blame on the victim. They may say that the victim "was asking for it" by dressing provocatively, being promiscuous, or drinking excessively. Many people search for a way to place the blame on the victim as it supports their belief that they will never be in danger of rape. If someone can rationalize rape as a consequence of the victim's behavior, then they may feel that they can avoid being raped (Horzepa). As Helen Benedict once wrote, "Most commonly, rape is a crime of opportunity; the victim is chosen not because of her looks or behavior, but because she is there."
Rape victims can experience severe psychological damages. Many victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which results in feelings of severe anxiety and stress. Nightmares, flashbacks, and paranoia are very common. Victims may also suffer from post-assault feelings of betrayal and humiliation, and intensified fears. Everyday activities may seem like too much to handle. They may feel angry or scared constantly, and it's not rare for the victim to develop a sleeping disorder (Healthy Place). The consequences are enough to gradually drive the victim insane, and the experience of being raped can lead to suicidal behavior as early as adolescence (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
Depression and dissociation are also highly common in those victimized of rape. Symptoms of depression can include sadness, moods of hopelessness, inexplicable crying, fluctuations in appetite with significant weight gain or loss, laziness or loss of energy, and loss of interest and inclination in activities formerly enjoyed. Dissociation refers to feeling like one has "checked out", or is not present. Daydreaming is a common symptom of this, and the victim may become very distant from reality. Chronic dissociation may impair the victim's ability to function in the "real" world, such as not being able to focus on work or hold stable relationships (Tull).
Coping with these consequences can be overwhelming. Some survivors may participate in substance abuse of drugs or alcohol to help deal with these feelings, or rather, numb them. Bad eating habits can develop, leading to eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, or obesity. Engaging in self-injurious behaviors can also bring a sense of control over the victim's life and serve as a release of tension, typically because a survivor's control and sense of security were taken away by the perpetrator. Rape victims often engage in risky sexual behaviors such as not using contraceptives or having a greater amount of sexual partners (Joyful Heart Foundation).
In conclusion, rape victims experience a plethora of consequences. Physically, those afflicted are burdened with pain and discomfort. Socially, the victims come to be introverted, or socially awkward. Relationships may be stressed, and everyday activities become troublesome. Psychologically, the memories of the incident are enough to permanently damage their esteem and main outlook on life.
Self-blame could possibly drive the victim insane, as well as intensified feelings of guilt and depression. Altogether, these effects can be quite overwhelming. In America, an estimated 876,000 citizens are raped every year (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Instead of telling 876,000 victims what they could have done to prevent their assault, society needs to comfort them in their pain and let them know that it was not their fault. Rape is a terrible crime, and the consequences are even worse.
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