Steps to support rape victims

Steps to support rape victims

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Rape, despite being a very traumatic experience and leaving sequelae in the victim, can be overcome with expert help. The data is alarming: three women are raped every minute all around the world. In fact, rape is a painful reality that cannot be denied under penalty of perpetuating the suffering of millions of women and children. The consequences for the victim can last a long time and cause serious psychological damage. Only 20% of victims have no symptoms one year after the assault. However, this difficult time can be overcome with adequate support.

  • First stage or stage of crisis

  • Second stage after a rape

  • Third stage after a rape

  • Support group for rape victims

  • Consequences of sexual rape in childhood

  • Pregnancy after a rape

First stage or stage of crisis

This phase extends from the moment of the violation until the next two years. It is characterized by the appearance of general pain in the body and genitals, as well as injuries in different places. It is important to react quickly to detect sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy, especially if the victim was in a fertile period. After a rape, sleep disturbances and prolonged waking states or eating disorders may appear, especially if there has been forced oral sex.

Given the strong emotional shock caused by the rape, the victim sinks into a deep sadness that can trigger severe depression. It is also common for the victim to wake up crying or deeply disturbed. Some women who have been raped experience emotional blockage as they feel guilty for what happened, believe that their life is worthless and that no one can help them. Other women, however, react in the opposite way. That is, they do not block the emotions they feel and are able to clearly identify details of the aggression, which allows them to seek help and report the rapist.

Second stage after a rape

It covers a period of two to four years after the attack. At this stage, the raped woman may have difficulties to have sex and develop defense mechanisms in dealing with strangers due to the strong trauma she has suffered. These mechanisms consist of rationalizing and projecting anxiety on another person, which allows to reduce suffering and to follow daily life.

Rape victims suffer emotional ups and downs and find it difficult to manage the emotions arising from the violation. The feelings generated by the rape are similar to those of people who suffer losses in an environmental catastrophe or experience a war. It is during this period that many women begin to realize how much rape has affected their emotional stability and decide to seek help. She must be accompanied by a specialized team that will help her to express these negative emotions.

Third stage after a rape

In this stage are those people who have suffered rape for more than five years. It is important to help them understand what this experience has meant to them. Some people who have suffered childhood sexual abuse they do not remember that they were violated, but this creates emotional problems for them. A child or adolescent is considered to have suffered sexual violence when she was shown pornography magazines, if she suffered sexual overtones by an adult, or when an adult forced her to touch her genitals.

Some people feel that they have experienced a situation of sexual violence when they see a program on TV or read an article in a magazine. From that moment on, they can suffer crises and suffer from any of the symptoms of the first stage. Physical symptoms include colitis, gastritis, hypertension and eating disorders. Psychological symptoms are related to sexual disorders, such as anorgasmia, dyspareunia (pain during intercourse) and vaginismus. Raped women are often resistant to gynecological exams because they claim to be afraid that someone will touch their genitals. They may also be unable to enjoy their sexuality, even though years have passed since the rape.

Support group for rape victims

Coping with the psychological consequences of rape should be done with the support of psychologists, psychiatrists and other specialists in the case of specific problems related to trauma. In addition, the involvement of women in groups with other victims of sexual assault – whether in childhood or adulthood – is of great value so that this woman does not feel alone, does not blame herself for what has happened and can talk to people who fully understand what she is going through.

Consequences of sexual rape in childhood

Children who are victims of rape or other forms of sexual abuse may forget what happened until a TV show or a date reactivates that traumatic memory. In these cases, treatment should follow the same steps as supporting adult victims, as well as possibly increasing it with regression and hypnosis in a controlled environment and performed by trained professionals. In addition, most cases of bipolar disorder has its origin in a case of child sexual abuse.

Pregnancy after a rape

Women who are victims of rape should be tested quickly to test for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. In these cases, Brazilian law allows the woman have an abortion.

Photo: © Phovoir –

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