By Eunice Ikem
In recent times, due to a lot of accusations floating around the international community, several victims of sexual violence have been shamed for their claims. Some even go as far as insulting the victims and calling them names. The truth is that no one ever plans to be abused, and even when it occurs, it takes a lot of courage to face your abuser and come out in public to tell what transpired. The culture of victim blaming has become so prevalent that some societies have normalised it. It is our responsibility to remind the international community of what victims face. It is important that we understand these victims so we can try to help them.
According to the Medical News Today website, Psychology is the science of the mind and behavior, the word psychology comes from the greek word psyche meaning breath, spirit and soul. It simply means the individual is unable to physically see mental processes such as thoughts, memories, dreams and perceptions. Sexual violence has a psychological effect on a survival and as often as violation takes place is also as difficult to get through with, the effect are not always easy to deal with but with the help of the right people, a survival can pull through. Some psychological effects that victims experience are:
- Analepsis is when the memory flashes back to a particular traumatic experience as if they are taking place at the moment. It simply means the survival can be at a function, office, meeting and then flashes back to the experience as if it’s happening all over again. Even as an individual with no cases of sexual violence, we often flash back to good memories and just have a smile on the face not to talk of flashing back to traumatic and bad memories. During analepsis, the survival may find it difficult connecting back to the real life easily and it may also feel, the rapist is present there with the survival. Analepsis can be triggered by experiences linked with the senses.
- Depression is a mood disorder that surface when feelings associated with hopelessness, sadness continue for long periods of time and interrupt your regular thoughts of plan. Depression can affect one’s behavior and relationship with people and it does not have age limit. When an individual is sexually violated, it’s almost normal to run into all these feelings of sadness, unhappiness, low self esteem, and if these feels go on for a long time without help, it may be an indicator of depression.
- Self harm also referred to as self injury can occur when a survival deliberately start inflicting physical harm on themselves, usually in private but without suicidal intentions. The survivor could result to biting, cutting, hitting the body, pulling the hair because they are generally irritated by the body after sexual violence occurs and they just want to punish the body for allowing it to be violated.
- Drugs/alcohol addiction can be resulted to if the survival refuses to speak out and get help and attention. They results to drugs and alcohol to make them feel better, fear that family or friends will not understand their pains, confusion or self consciousness about the experience.
- Sexual Dysfunction. This is a difficulty that a lot of sexually abused victims face., it includes the inability to develop physical desires for others, achieve orgasm, have hypersexualised desires or difficulty forming healthy relationships. Some victims also tend to dislike physical contact with anybody, while some feel pain during sexual encounters and sometimes have to deal with life-damaging/long-term effects of STDs gotten from rape/sexual abuse. This goes to show that the trauma of dealing with any form of sexual violence has the ability to affect their future relationships.
The psychological effects of being sexually violated are much and they are definitely realistic on individuals who survive rape. Though there are many ways to combat the after effect of sexual violation if it’s reported to the relevant authorities early. There are many organisations, including Stand To End Rape Initiative, ready to help victims recover. So if you do need help, contact us and we would render our services.
What is power when an individual has been sexually molested? What is power when you run into depression?…..