By Betty Yom Mageer
OPINION – Rape is one of the worst thing that can ever happen to a woman in the world. It is an experience that leave a woman with deep depression, low-self-esteem, low confidence, detestation and suicide feeling in life. It is an experience that every woman who has unfortunately experienced it regret deeply and always wonder why on earth can another human does such a horrible and inhuman thing to her in life without her consent. Rape is an experience that affect its victims in a physical, psychological and sociological way. Moreover, most rape survivors experience a stronger psychological effect in the initial period after their assault; however, many survivors may experience long-lasting psychological harm.
The survivors of rape may also often have anxiety and fear directly following their attack. According to a study on the reactions after rape by the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 96 percent of women said they were scared, shaking or trembling a few hours after their attack. After even more times passed, the previous symptoms decreased while the levels of depression, exhaustion and restlessness increased. Furthermore, after an attack, rape survivors experience heightened anxiety and fear. According to Dean G. Kilpatrick, a renowned psychologist; survivors of rape have high levels of anxiety and phobia-related anxiety such as; feelings of dread, feeling nervous, feeling tense or uneasy, having panic attacks, having an irrational response to certain stimuli and having avoidance.
Additionally, survivors of rape are more likely to attempt or commit suicide. The associations remain, even after controlling for sex, age, education, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and the presence of psychiatric disorders. The experience of being raped can lead to suicidal behavior as early as adolescence. In what had happened to them. Moreover, a study of adolescents in Brazil found prior sexual abuse to be a leading factor predicting several health risk behaviors, including suicidal thoughts and attempts. Furthermore, after a sexual assault, victims are subjected to investigations and in some cases, mistreatment. Victims undergo medical examinations and are interviewed by police. During the criminal trial, victims suffer a loss of privacy and their credibility may be challenged.
Sexual assault victims may also experience secondary victimization and victim blaming including, slut-shaming and cyberbullying. During criminal proceedings, publication bans and rape shield laws operate to protect victims from excessive public scrutiny. In addition to that, rape is really shameful in cultures with strong customs and taboos concerning sex and sexuality. For instance, a rape survivor may be viewed by society as being spoiled a victim in those cultures and he/she may suffer isolation, be disowned by friends and family be prevented from marrying, be divorced if already married or even killed. This phenomenon is known as secondary victimization. Secondary victimization is an outcome of the pressure women feel in some cultures to be married at a young age, and save themselves for marriage.
This isolation suggests that a woman’s whole life should be aimed at marriage, and if she is not married, then it mean that she has failed as a woman. While society targets secondary victimization mainly towards women, male victims can also feel disgraceful or experience a loss of purity. Moreover, secondary victimization is the re-traumatization of the sexual assault, abuse or rape victim through the responses of individuals and institutions. Types of secondary victimization include victim blaming and inappropriate post-assault behavior or language by medical workers or other organizations with which the victim has contact. secondary victimization is especially common in cases of drug-facilitated, acquaintance and statutory rape. Additionally, rape can lead to sexually transmitted diseases (STDS) such as HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea and etc.
The rape survivors can contract sexually transmitted diseases in their lives which can endanger their health and cause death later on in life. Furthermore, rape is very rampant in South Sudan and it has been worsening by the civil wars that South Sudan has been experiencing for many years. In the three of regions of Upper Nile, Barh el- Ghazal and Equatoria. There have been many cases that has been reported by both humanitarian organizations, civil society, human rights watch, independent bodies and the media houses. Moreover, the most rape victims are always women and girls in the war-zone areas across the country. Women and girls have bear the consequences of rape cases in the country. And it is very unfortunate, evil and shameful for our country.
The rape against women is a big crime and crime against humanity and womankind in particularly. Additionally, it is reported that rape cases were done by all warring parties to the conflict in South Sudan. for example, the aid agency Medecins Sans Frontierres (MSF) said that last November it had treated 125 women and girls who were allegedly raped or ganged raped over a ten days’ period. Rape and sexual violence has been a consistent feature of South Sudan’s war and it has always been committed by all parties to the conflict. Moreover, rape is against the order of nature. Additionally, according the United Nation report which clearly mentioned the reality on the ground said that “armed opposition groups that remain non-signatories to the peace agreement intensified. Rape, sexual slavery and sexual torture were used for the purposes of intimidation and punishment, based on perceived political affiliation.
Moreover, sexual violence was employed as an ethnically based strategy, aimed at transforming the demographics of the region. Other areas such as Unity (16 incidents), Upper Nile (16 incidents), Western Bahr el-Ghazal (11 incidents), and Western Equatoria (8 incidents) were affected by active hostilities, arising either from internal strife generated by opposition groups or clashes between local militias characterized by a large presence of armed youth. The South Sudan People’s Defence Forces were implicated in 37 per cent of the cases”.
Finally, the above report by the United Nation (UN) clearly demonstrated the harsh and sad realities of rape and sexual violence in our country against innocent and vulnerable women and girls who faced such inhuman act in South Sudan. So we need come together as a country to fight and alter this shameful practice against women and girls in our nation. The humanitarian agencies, civil society, religious groups, youth, women and government need to work hard to eradicate and stop this evil practice which is an attack against women’s and girls’ dignity and rights in South Sudan. Rape is morally wrong and wicked and we need to put an end to it in South Sudan. I know a real South Sudanese gentleman cannot do such a horrible thing to a woman or girl but only an evil and fake man can do such thing to an innocent woman and girl in South Sudan.
The author is a women rights activists. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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