Did you guys know that rape is a severely under-reported crime with surveys showing figures of up to 91.6% going unreported?. Reasons for not reporting rape differ across countries and individuals (i.e the victim or the rapist). They may include fear of retaliation, uncertainty about whether a crime was committed or if the offender intended to harm, not wanting others to know about the rape etc.
The trauma of being raped or sexually assaulted can be shattering, leaving you feeling scared, ashamed, and alone or haunted by nightmares, flashbacks, and other unpleasant memories.
There are steps you can take to help the healing process if you have been a victim of rape.
YOU SHOULD REACH OUT TO SOMEBODY YOU TRUST
It is common, even normal for you to think that if you don’t talk about your rape, it didn’t really happen. But you can’t heal when you are in denial about the incident. And hiding only adds to feelings of shame. As scary as it is to open up, it’s what will set you free. You know the saying “the truth shall set you free?”, apply it in this situation. However, it’s important to be selective about who you tell, especially at first. It should be somebody who is supportive, empathetic and calm…
PLACE THE BLAME WHERE IT BELONGS.
Which is not on YOU; it’s the RAPIST! It’s the individual that violated you and stripped you of your power at the moment. Remember it’s not your fault that you were drunk, it’s not your fault that you were dressed a certain way so it means you asked for it. It is not your fault that you trusted somebody that you shouldn’t have. And lastly, it’s not your fault that you didn’t do anything to stop the assault from happening. When one is going through such an ordeal your mind and your body goes into shock so please, do not be ashamed or hard on yourself. If you could have done something about it, you would have.
PREPARE YOURSELF MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY FOR FLASHBACKS.
There would be times where your environment or certain things will trigger flashbacks of the incident, remember it’s normal after such traumatic event. Try to surround yourself with family and friends. Find ways to soothe your mind. When you are having flashbacks, remind yourself that it’s not a reality as of the moment, relax your mind, body and soul.
In order for your accuser to be brought to justice, you must report the crime within a certain time frame, each country has its own statute of limitations on rape. For justice to be served you must be swift. It is crazy that the law will put limitations on something so detrimental, especially when it takes victims years to open up to others about it. BUT hey, what can we do but hope for the best and try to make changes.
Just always remember that no matter how bad you feel right now, it’s important to remember that you weren’t to blame for what happened and you can regain your sense of safety and trust. And try to live the best life you can. Take each day as it comes.