“Rape is any type of sexual activity that you don’t consent to, stretching from touching to penetration. Rape is a crime even if you already know the person who attacked you, if the person is a family member or friend or someone you work with. It is a crime even if you didn’t fight back. It’s a crime even if you were drinking or if you were taking drugs or were given drugs, or if you were unconscious. Anyone can be raped–children or elderly people, wives or girlfriends, even men.” (The American Academy of Family Physicians)
Rape is one of the most terribly violent crimes in our culture. The individual and social costs of rape are immeasurable, as the suffering experienced by the survivor can last months, years, and, in some cases, a lifetime. Sexual ordeal leaves an impression of immense magnitude on the brain yet, it remains the only crime where there is a propensity to blame the victim.
If a woman has been the victim of a sexual assault, whether it took place yesterday, or years ago, she may be going through a series of problems as a result of that shock, from panic, depression, shame, and rage; to nightmares, disturbing memories, flashbacks, social abandonment and nervousness, at times, so powerful she may be afraid to leave her own home. Survivors’ reactions differ and it is significant to bear in mind that there is no “right” way to respond to sexual trauma.
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