Dealing With Rape by Joseph Attah (2nd Runner-up for TALKAM Writing Competition)
December 7, 2020
Rape is a violent experience that can have profound effects on the daily life of a victim. It is an experience no one is supposed to have but be that as it may, when that happens, how do we deal with it? This piece seeks to give us an insight into the various means of dealing with it.
So what steps should a person take after experiencing rape? We have seen women who went to report a rape case all dressed up as if they were attending a function, we have seen or heard of women who didn’t report a rape case till after so many years, such will make the investigative process cumbersome for the various bodies charged with the responsibility to build a case for you. Again someone will ask, how do we deal with rape? Follow me as I seek to help you buttress the necessary points you need to deal with rape.
In this part of the world, there are so many reasons why people don’t know how to deal with cases of rape, ranging from lack of trust of our judicial system and the police, stigmatization, how a case was handled in the past, and so many others. But the following will help us deal with rape, assuming the victim has decided to seek for help. It is one thing to be a victim, it is another thing to muster courage and seek for prosecution.
Remember that it is important the evidence from the crime scene does not get ruined. For this reason, you should avoid earnestly the following:
-Taking a shower
-Cleaning any part of your body
-Combing your hair
-Changing your clothes
-Touching anything at the scene of the assault
-Take care of yourself by going to the hospital.
You will be checked and treated for injuries, including internal injuries, as well as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. This will likely involve blood tests and a pelvic exam and swab. During the exam, evidence will also be collected that may help identify the perpetrator(s), such as hairs, semen, saliva, clothing, and fibers one.
DECIDING WHETHER TO REPORT THE RAPE
There are many decisions that come up after being sexually assaulted. One challenge is deciding whether you want to report the crime and seek prosecution. You may choose to report the rape because you want the perpetrator(s) to be punished and you want to protect others from being assaulted.
You may choose not to report the crime for a number of reasons stated earlier. Or, the perpetrator(s) may have threatened to harm you or a loved one if the crime is reported. You may also feel a range of emotions, like guilt and shame, and decide that you do not want to further share this traumatic event with other people.
In conclusion, Dealing with the effects of rape can be a daunting task, but patience is key because rape is a traumatic event. It is common to feel confused, fearful, guilty, numb, hostile, or tearful. You may feel like withdrawing from others. You may have difficulty concentrating, making decisions, and sleeping. It may be hard for you to talk about what happened.
MOVING TOWARD RECOVERY
Recovering from rape can be a long and difficult process. Be patient with yourself. Each person has a different way of coping and healing. Some people want to carry on with their routine. Others find it helpful to take time off from work and other responsibilities. Here are some things you can do to help yourself heal.
SEEK SUPPORT FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Seek support from people who can offer comfort without blame or control. It is good to have a mix of people who can support you in various ways. For example, some people are better than others at dealing with intense emotions.
A rape crisis center can be a good source of support for you. These centers usually have a hotline that you can call for information and guidance. Depending on the agency, you may also have access to individual therapy, support group and advocacy.
TRY A SUPPORT GROUP
Most communities have support groups for victims of sexual assault. These groups help break down the isolation, secrecy, and shame felt by many victims. Members of the group are at different stages of healing. They share their experiences, coping strategies, and progress.