Zena Costa, independent Sports Mgmt Prof. & writer, blogs to help you and & loved ones heal from a life of tribulations and move onto a better tomorrow. Because it’s you, and only you that can help yourself.
My years as a journo helped me meet women from all walks of life across all cultures. It’s imperrative that before seeking solutions we UNDERSTAND RAPE.
Rape is like a violent storm that cuts a swath through the lives of victims and those who love them. Left in its wake are complex feelings of grief, anger, confusion, fear, helplessness, isolation, uncertainty, injustice, and a profound sense that one’s world may never be the same again.
For many victims, rape is moment that divides in their lives . . . life before the rape and life now. In some measure, the same is true for those who are closest to the victim including husbands, fathers, brothers, and male companions. For all, one consequence of rape is that it can shape peoples’ perceptions of themselves and their interactions with others. In particular, it seems as if many of the rules that govern how victims and their loved ones conduct their lives and relate to one another are changed in the aftermath of rape.
How does a victim of rape regain control of her life? As a man whose lady-love gets raped, as mother or as a father who loves her, what can you do to help her recover? How can you preserve and strengthen a relationship with someone you love if she is raped? To answer these questions, you must first understand what rape is.
Rape maybe defined as an act of sexual violence that is usually perpetrated by males against females, which is accompanied by threat and intimidation, and which is imposed upon a victim against her will.
Rape is about power, control, and domination. Rape is not about sex, though it is a violent crime that is expressed sexually. The victim has not “asked for it” and does not enjoy it. The victim was forced by someone who overpowered her, and possibly terrorized her with a weapon and threats of extreme bodily harm. Rape is life-threatening and life-altering; it severely traumatizes the victim.
Rape is a disturbingly frequent crime that occurs thousands of times each year. Rape is one of the least reported crimes, in part because many victims fear how they might be treated if they divulge what has happened. By choosing to remain silent, many rape survivors are also trying to protect others from the consequences of their victimization. It is an act of courage and trust for a woman to divulge to another that she was raped.
Most of the resources of rape-crisis centers and counseling facilities are directed toward providing immediate help to the victim. But others also are in a position to help, including men. Because of the violent and sexual nature of rape, the husbands, fathers, brothers, and male friends who are important to victims may have a difficult time coming to terms with what has happened. Many are well-intentioned and want to help, but do not know what to do. Yet these men often have the greatest impact on her recovery — positively or negatively — depending on what they say and how they act.
Although most men want to help, many are ill-prepared to respond constructively. This may be because they think of rape as a “woman’s problem.” They have little understanding of how rape will affect their relationship with the person they love. To make matters worse, myths about rape compound the difficulties of recovery for victims.
If your wife, daughter, sister, or friend is raped, Seek counselling – You will learn what happens to her in the aftermath of an assault. You will learn what you should and should not do. It will give you the tools necessary to maintain a healthy relationship with the person you love.