How to Recover From Rape
According to one of the country’s leading rape experts, regardless of age, race, weight or economics, one in five women will be raped at some point in her life. “In fact, you are four times more likely to be raped by someone you know than by someone you don’t know”, says Warshaw, a rape counselor. Because of that, most women may not realize that what just happened to her, was rape.
In society’s mind the rapist is a stranger and that which goes on between two people who know each other, even if it was forced, is seduction and sex. But the experts point out that any form of forced sex, is rape, whether it is by a stranger, or by a friend.
Rape is one of the few crimes in which the victim risks being blamed for her own victimization. This is one of the reasons so many rapes go unreported. The victim is often afraid of being held responsible for what happened to her or of having every part of her sex life exposed and judged in the open courts.
After rape, a woman drags herself over the coals thinking, “What signal did she communicate? Why did she decide to go to this bar or that place with that person? What did she do wrong?“ Society at large-and often, the people around her-support her in her view that somehow she is to blame for what happened to her. “If only you hadn’t worn that mini skirt.“ “If only you hadn’t gone to that party.“ “If only you hadn’t gotten drunk.“ “If only you had fought back.“ Many rape victims struggle for years with feelings of guilt and self-blame, which psychologists say, can lengthen and increase the severity of their symptoms. Rape is a serious trauma. According to one study, rape is second only to military combat impact on a person’s life.
Getting Help Getting Better
Rarely are women able to recover from this profound trauma alone. Most experts agree that the best place to go for help is a rape crisis center. Trained crisis workers, through their sympathy and understanding, can help a rape victim through the roller coaster of emotions that follows sexual assault.
Placing The Blame Where It Belongs
If you have been a victim of sexual assault, one of the best things you can do, outside of getting help from a crisis center, is to believe in yourself. Know that It was not your fault. Even if you knew the assailant, even if you were dressed and acting provocatively, even if you were drunk or locked together in passion, even if you did not fight back. At any moment you decided you did not want to have sex and said no and the man proceeded, what happened to you was rape. According to counselor Robin Warshaw, “Bad judgment is not a rapable offense.”
If You Are Raped
Call your local rape crisis center immediately for support.
If you decide to report the attack, do so as soon as possible. Expect questioning and a medical examination; it will help if you have not bathed or changed your clothes
See a doctor immediately to be checked for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
Attend specialist counseling to help you recover from the trauma.
Get angry rather than guilty: women who get angry have been shown to have fewer long-term side effects.
Remember that no one, under any circumstances ever deserves to be raped.
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