Example Of Essay On Sexual Assault
There are various definitions of rape throughout the world, but the generally accepted definition of rape is forced sexual contact; contact done without consent of the victim. In most cases, rape occurs when a person is coerced, forced or even manipulated to indulge in sexual activity either by a stranger or a person known to them. Irrespective of any definition of rape, certain aspects are a constant in the definition. These are the lack of consent for sexual contact, the use of force or threats and the use of any kind of object to penetrate the victim’s sexual organs (Koss et al.1991). Aspects such as the victim being a child, being drugged, sleeping or being mentally challenged rule out the presence of consent. There are various kinds of rape reported with date rapes being the most common. This is done by an acquaintance of the victim ranging from family members to co-workers. Stranger rape also occurs where a person unknown to the victim commits the offense. In defining rape, there are other related terms worth mentioning such as sexual harassment where an “uncalled for” sexual attention is given to the victims. Sexual abuse, on the other hand, refers to sexual activity targeting children. Sexual coercion is also another term that refers to the use of mental manipulation that forces the victim into social activity that is unwanted.
The Dynamics of Rape
Rape is an aspect that can be viewed through and from a wide range of perspectives. Ullman (2007) points out that apart from the usual lack of consent in penetration of the victim; rape takes the form of other sexual behaviors. These include issues such as female genital mutilation, sexual slavery, sexual harassment and sexual abuse. In most cases where rape is reported, the perpetrators are mostly men. Very few incidents point to men as the victims though their numbers have been rising in the recent times. This situation with the men can be blamed first on the patriarchal setup of most society and other factors such as drug use. Rape has also been viewed as an act directed toward a victim mostly viewed as being helpless and powerless. The aggressive nature rape takes suggests the push to get power and control the victims. In most rape occurrences, the victims are mostly young people in their teenage years. They are mostly unwilling to reveal their ordeals meaning that many incidents go unreported. The victims go into hiding till late in life and by this time; much damage is already done psychologically and socially. Rape victims face a variety of consequences either physical or psychological. The wellbeing of these people is affected in the short term and if not dealt with extends to the long term.
Cultural Factors Associated with Rape
Various cultural issues surround the aspect of rape throughout the world. In some parts of the world, there are some misconceptions that raping virgins cure people of HIV. Men all over the world are therefore increasingly involved in rape with some statistics especially in Africa and Asia- Pacific showing that almost 30% of men have committed rape (Ullman, 2007). This applies in most places around the globe. Another cultural aspect is the issue of sex trafficking. Here, victims are made to indulge in sexual activity for financial gain of their masters unwillingly. This crime has generated into slavery whereby the rich force the poor victims into sexual acts without their consent. The society also tends to attach some stigma to the rape victims. Here, the victims are mistreated in their quest for justice. Cases have been recorded of maltreatment of rape victims or cyber bullying during trials on rape. In other cases, the victim is viewed to be responsible for the rape with their testimony not believed by the community.
Personal and Psychosocial Factors Associated with Rape
Rape victims react differently to this act. Therefore, the personal factors associated with rape can differ from one victim to another. However, there are common effects that rape have been observed to have to the victim and their interaction with the rest of the society. The Rape trauma syndrome is one effect victims show that focuses on how the victim responses to the stress caused by the incident (Nishith, 2000).This first makes the victim to be disorganized and express emotional reactions such as crying, laughing and even being unusually composed. Over time, these develop to feelings of shame, degradation, anger and even fear. This affects the individual’s personal life and even interaction within the community. Therefore, at a personal level, the victims may experience issues such as sexual dysfunction, lack of sleep due to nightmares, having suicide thoughts, indulging in drug use and even indulgence in risky behavior. Socially, the effect of rape can be adverse depending on the individual. Some people may cease to perform their usual chores at work places or at home, with fear of being in crowds or even being alone setting in. Interactions with other people become a problem, with some victims opting to move into new places of residence and changing identities.
Rape prevention strategies are varied but fall mainly into two categories; educational programs aimed to change the perception towards rape and self-defense programs targeting the most vulnerable to attacks in the society (Koss et al., 1991. The programs aimed at attitudinal change operate under the assumption that reducing attitudes that support rape leads to a considerable reduction in rape incidents. These programs specifically deal with refuting myths associated with rape, stereotypes associated with different sexes, giving information on dating safely and individual susceptibility issues to rape. Research shows that in the long term, these programs result in reduction of cases of rape. Self-defense programs on the other hand focus on preparing potential victims especially the women to be prepared in case they are attacked. Here, the people are taught on tools that can be used to put off the attacker and give time for them to escape. This strategy has been viewed to be very successful since trained people are less likely to get raped compared to the untrained. Generally, however, certain resistance strategies are advocated for to prevent rape. These include physically resisting activities such as running and wrestling, verbally resisting by screaming or even pleading, and physiologically resisting by resulting to activities such as urination.
Koss, M. P., & Harvey, M. R. (1991). The rape victim: Clinical and community interventions. Sage Publications, Inc.
Nishith, P., Mechanic, M. B., & Resick, P. A. (2000). Prior interpersonal trauma: the contribution to current PTSD symptoms in female rape victims. Journal of abnormal psychology, 109(1), 20.
Ullman, S. E. (2007). A 10-year update of “review and critique of empirical studies of rape avoidance”. Criminal justice and behavior, 34(3), 411-429.
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