Rape is a terrible act performed when one party wishes to exact complete power and control over another. Rape is defined by World Health Organization (WHO) as:
“Physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration– even if slight – of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object.”
Rape is often known as “sexual assault” or “sexual abuse,”. However, sexual assault and sexual abuse are defined more broadly whereas the term rape specifies intercourse.
Threats of violence or weapons may be used during rape but in about 8-out-of-10 cases, nothing but physical force is used. Weapons or threats are not required for an act to be considered rape.
It is important to know that either gender can be the criminal or the victim of rape. Additionally, rapes take place both inside and outside of relationships. It’s serious to understand that rape is never okay and that no matter the circumstance, rape is never the victim’s fault.
Was I Raped?
Some victims of rape wonder about their specific circumstance and wonder if it considered rape. Chances are, if you’re wondering, “Was I raped?” you probably were. Rape happens any time sexual intercourse takes place without your permission. Note that many situations can indicate your lack of agreement including:
- An inability to give go-aheaddue to age
- An inability to give go-aheaddue to lack ofability(perhaps due to a disability)
- An inability to give go-ahead due to intoxication
And, of course, any time you say, “No” to Sex and it is forced on you, that is rape. It doesn’t matter if you said “No” in the middle of the act, it is still rape if the other party doesn’t immediately stop and respect your wishes. You have the right to stop agreement at any time, under anyconditions.
Sometimes it is considered rape even if you do not say, “no” such as in the case where a weapon is used. Sometimes you are too concerned for your life or safety to say, “no.” This is still considered rape. Threats against others may also be consideredvery serious.
So why do some men rape?
All criminalsof violence, including rapists, suffered hugeaggressionduring their own childhoods. This violence will have usually included a great deal of ‘visible’ violence that we see every day but more importantly, those violence that are kept very quiet: the violence committed by adults against children that is not ordinarily perceived as violent.
This violence cause severe damage on a child’s identity leaving them feeling afraid, self-hating and powerless, among other horrific feelings. However, because we do not allow children the emotional space to feel their emotional responses to our violence, these feelings of terror, self-hatred and powerlessness etc., become deeply buried in the child’s unconscious and drive their behavior without their mindfulknowledgethat they are doing so.
So what is ‘invisible’ violence? It is the ‘little things’ we do every day, partly because we are just ‘too busy’. For example, when we do not listen to, and value, a child’s thoughts and feelings, the child learns to not listen to themselves thus destroying their internal communication system. When we do not let a child say what they want or ignore them when they do, the child develops communication and behavioral abnormalities as they keep trying to meet their own needs.
When we blame, condemn, insult, mock, embarrass, shame, humiliate, taunt, guilty feeling, deceive, lie to, bribe, blackmail, moralize with and/or judge a child, we both undermine their sense of self-worth and teach them to blame, condemn, insult, mock, embarrass, shame, humiliate, taunt, guilt-trip, deceive, lie, bribe, blackmail, moralize and/or judge.
The importantoutcome of being bombarded throughout their childhood by this ‘invisible’ violence is that the child is extremelyoverwhelmed by feelings of fear, pain, anger and sadness among many others. However, parents, teachers and other adults also actively interfere with the expression of these feelings and the behavioral responses that are naturally generated by them and it is this ‘extreme invisible’ violence that explains why the abnormalbehavioral outcomes occur.
For example, by ignoring a child when they express their feelings, by comforting, reassuring or distracting a child when they express their feelings, by laughing at or ridiculing their feelings, by terrorizing a child into not expressing their feelings e.g. by screaming at them when they cry or get angry, and/or by violently controlling a behavior that is generated by their feelings e.g. by hitting them, restraining them or locking them into a room, the child has no choice but to unconsciously burytheir knowledge of these feelings.
However, once a child has been terrorized into hiding their awareness of their feelings rather than being allowed to express their feelings and to act on them the child has also unwillinglyhide their awareness of the reality that caused these feelings. This has many outcomes that are tragic for the individual and for society because the individual will now easily hide their knowledgeof the feelings that would tell them how to act appropriately in any givencondition.Moreover, they will more and moredevelopan unusual kind of abnormal behaviors, including some that are violent towards themselves and others.
So, what is happening psychologically for the rapist when they commit the act of rape? They arebringing out the unconsciously hidden feelings of their own victimhood onto their rape victim. That is, their fear, self-hatred and powerlessness, for example, are expressedonto the victim so that they can gain temporary relief from these feelings. Their fear, temporarily, is more deeplyburied. Their self-hatred is seen as hatred of their victim. Their powerlessness is temporarily relieved by a sense of being in control, which they were never allowed to be, and feel, as a child. For example, a rapist might blame their victim for their dress: a sure sign that the rapist was endlessly, and unjustly, blamed as a child and is unconsciously angry about that.
The Different Forms of Rape
There are several types of rape. Rape is a violent crime involving sexual acts forced on one person by another. Rape is technically defined as forced penetration (with any body part or object) including anal, vaginal or oral intercourse. Rape is illegal and while the term “rape” specifies penetration, other sexual acts not involving penetration, when forced on someone, are also illegal.
The forms of rape may be specified based on who is committing the rape, who the rape victim is, and the specific actions involved in the rape. Some types of rape are considered much more severe than others,and the punishment is much higher in Nigeria which includes stoning to death in the community. However, in Nigeria law, a person can be jailed for fourteen years or life imprisonment.
Diminished Capacity Rape
The type of rape known as diminished capacity rape is committed when one person forces sexual penetration on another person who cannot consent to the sex act. People with diminished capacity can’t consent to sexual acts due to limited physical or intellectual ability. An example would be a person with an intellectual disability.
Diminished capacity rape also takes place when a person has no ability to consent to sexual acts due to intoxication.
Incest is a type of rape dictated by the relationship between the two parties. When the two parties involved in the sex act are closely related (in other words, they are family), it is often rape. Examples of incest include: •Parents and children, •Uncles and nieces or nephews, •Aunts and nieces or nephews.
Partner rape, also known as Spousal rape or Marital rape, is a type of rape involving a person’s partner or previous partner (no matter whether the partners are married). There are three types of partner rape:
- Battering rape – involving both physical and sexual violence
- Force-only rape – involving the imposition of power and control over another
- Obsessive/Sadistic rape – involving torture and perverse sexual acts
Some marital rape victims don’t realize they have been raped as they are under the mistaken impression that partners cannot rape each other. This is false. However, any sexual acts without permission even among husband and wife or partners is still considered as rape.
This type of rape happens between two people that know each other. Often acquaintance rape is known as “date rape” as the two people involved may be in a social relationship at the time. Some victims don’t recognize acquaintance rape as rape butit’s important to remember that permission for sexual activity can be canceledat any time,and a prior relationship does not mean that rape cannot occur.
What are the symptoms and signs of someone who has been sexually assaulted or raped?
Signs and Symptoms of someone who has been sexually assaulted or raped tend to include depression, guilt, anger, and anxiety. Behaviorally, the victim of sexual violence might become aggressive, abuse substances, or break the rules, like not attending work or school. The victim might also have sleeping or eating problems, withdraw from relationships, and have sexual problems.
What do I do if someone I know or I have been sexually assaulted or raped?
The primary consideration for caring for victims of rape who has been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted is to focus on the needs of the victim during this crisis. Any intervention tends to be more effective when sensitively administered in a timely way so that the survivor of rape or other sexual assault will not have to be subjected to more questioning or other interactions than are necessary.
The primary issues addressed include medical treatment of any injuries, a collection of evidence, preventing unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and providing support. In addition to preventing the pain or other symptoms of injuries or a sexualtransmitteddisease, appropriate medical interventions include preventing the additional stress of unwanted pregnancy that can lead to potentially considering abortion. Mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually, it is important to reassure the victim of this trauma that their ill-treatmentis in no way their fault. This is true no matter how old they are, what they do for a living.
The physical and psychological effects of sexual assault and rape?
If left untreated, the physical and psychological effects of sexual assault and rape can be devastating, sometimes even deadly. Causes of death as the result of sexual violence include suicide, murder, and infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A victim of a rape or other sexual assault might become pregnant as a result of the rape. He or she could develop nightmares, flashbacks, changes in their sleep and appetite, or develop full-blown emotional problems, including posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, or substance abuse. Individuals who have experienced sexual assault are at risk for other day-to-day problems, including arguing with family members and having problems at work.