What is Rape?
It is an unlawful, forceful, sexual activity taking place without the consent of
the victim who is incapable of giving legal consent due to various reasons including
intoxication, mental illness, minor status, etc.
It is a common societal notion that only women are victims of rape. However, some abusers
are women and have sexually assaulted men, even though a majority of the cases that are
reported are often about men abusing women. In addition to that, Rape can also occur in same-sex intercourse.
Imagine how would you feel if everybody were to blame you for some other person
inflicting harm on you. This is exactly what we call “victim-blaming,” where the person who
has been raped is blamed by society, family, or the judiciary for the mishappenings that
have occurred with the victim. This has various reasons including the social stigma revolving
around crime related to women, the patriarchal mindset of the society, a label of knowledge
related to gender and sexual orientation spectrum, trivializing sexual assault, scrutinizing
the situation and clothes of the victim, defining manhood as dominant and sexually
Victim-blaming attitudes marginalize the victim/survivor and make it harder to come
forward and report the abuse. If the survivor knows that you or society will blame her/him
for the abuse, she/he will not feel safe or comfortable coming forward and talking to you
and bringing to light what has happened to them.
It is NOT the victim’s fault or responsibility in this situation; it is the abuser’s choice.
By engaging in victim-blaming attitudes, society allows the abuser to perpetrate relationship
abuse or sexual assault while avoiding accountability for his/her actions.
After Effects of Rape
The after-effects of rape include a cluster of physical and psychological effects on the
victims. Comprehensive care is required for the victims that take care of both long-term and
short-term effects. Treatment for Rape victims might be provided for the rest of their lives to the people who were victims of extremely violent rape or who were assaulted repeatedly at a very young
Physical Effects of Rape
Forced sexual intercourse usually causes visible bruising and bleeding around the vaginal
area and other parts of the body from violence. Sometimes, rape can end in pregnancy and
various sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis,
genital warts, et cetera. Victims of sexual violence also find it painful to have intercourse
with their significant other after the assault. In severe cases, there can be non-cancerous
tumors found in the muscle wall also called Uterine Fibroids.
Psychological Effects of Rape
One of the most common psychological effects is Self-blame, which is used as an avoidance-
based coping tool for the victims. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also seen in many
of the victims, which includes severe feelings of stress and anxiety. The victim usually feels
powerless and feels that the rapist forcefully took control of their bodies.
The victim can also get flashbacks, nightmares, and memories of the incident as if it is taking
place again. The disintegration of any intimate relationship, that was present before the
assault can also cause affect the mental health of the victim. There are various therapies used for the treatment of sexual assault, which includes:
•Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: in which the therapists may assist clients with recognising
and replacing the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their distress.
•Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR): is an interactive therapy used to
address trauma and reduce distress. It may involve tapping or moving the eyes from side to
side while discussing a difficult event.
•Supportive Therapy: requires the therapists to help clients make sense of their emotions
and assist them in identifying the skills they can use to manage their symptoms.
There are times when the client is also facing other mental health issues like anxiety or
depression, for which the therapist can advise them to go to a psychiatrist who can provide
them with medication for the same.
•Group Therapies: where people learn how to deal with trauma and grief are
also very helpful in such situations. Support groups are helpful too in such cases.
•Various other coping strategies and skills to calm one’s body include yoga, progressive
muscle relaxation, etc. These can help calm the body’s physiological responses (like a rapid
Many times, survivors of sexual assault often go to great lengths to escape from
remembering what happened. A therapist can help the client discover coping strategies
that will help them be able to face the situation. This can be a key component in managing
their fears and thoughts.
The victim needs to manage their intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and catastrophic
predictions. These are just a few ways by which a sexual assault may affect the daily thinking
of the victim. A therapist can help the discover coping skills to stop these thoughts or
address them so that they don’t take a toll on their psychological well-being.