If there is one thing in the world that messes with the mind in a negative way, causing mental stress, it is the subject of rape. Nationwide it is usually seen to occur among the female side of the human race. That is not to say that it does not happen to males, however. Women, men, and children have all been victims of sexual assault in one form or another.
According to statistics, 60 percent of all rapes are not reported to the police. This means that about 97 percent of all rapists will not see a day of jail time and not having to pay for the crime committed. There are numerous reasons why most rape casualties do not come forth with what occurred. One reason in particular consists of fear that the assailant may return. Another statistic shows that there are close to 237,868 cases of sexual violation each year. Out of this number of victims about 44 percent fall under the age of 18 and 80 percent are under the age of 30. Many reports that come in about rape or sexual assault in general say that the act was done by someone the victim knows such as a friend, family member, or acquaintance. Just about two-thirds of these reports come in each year.
Stories from victims of rape come in all different forms, some worse than others. For instance, there was reportedly a man that raped his wife while she slept, having drugged her prior to the act. The 36-year-old woman from Indiana, Mandy Boardman, told police that the violations had been going on for about three years. She continued to say that she discovered videos on her husband’s cell phone of him having intercourse with her as she lay unconscious. According to police records the husband, after confrontation from his wife, later emailed her saying that he had been taking advantage of her during the hours of slumber. The email continued on to say that Mrs. Boardman kept going to her husband, telling him to stop, and that his behavior was not in the least bit okay.
Rape can have a large effect on the overall mental health of the victim. Each victim is different in the way they handle things but there are many similarities such as the feeling of not being safe anymore. The victim may also feel dirty in the sense that the touch of the assailant might never go away. One condition of mental stress that is found to be common amongst victims of rape is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
A study conducted by the National Women’s Study confirmed that dramatic mental health issues resulted in rape victims which they then compared to the mental health of non-victims. By their statistics PTSD matured in about one-third (31 percent) of all rape victims. About 11 percent still contain PTSD till this day. Another statistic from the study recorded that victims of rape were 6.2 times more likely to suffer from PTSD than those whom have never been assaulted. However, PTSD is only one of a few mental issues that develope from rape. It was reported in the study that depression was another form of mental stress caused by rape. It is seen that sometimes the depression caused by rape has lead victims to commit suicide.
Rape victims are not the only ones to feel mental stress. Mental stress can also occur when a false allegation is reported, making the stress fall upon the one being accused of the crime. There are no exact statistics when it comes to false claims of rape however, it has been found to be anywhere from 2–8 percent. These false claims have been seen to be mostly against men. Reasons behind these false claims come in different forms. In the case of one Boston, MA, resident his girlfriend stated that he had raped her. The reason behind this was that through phone messages she caught him cheating. He stated that she cried wolf out of anger and jealousy. This false claim of rape was further proven by the lawyers saying that the story “didn’t quite add up.” As the case closed the charges were dropped. “If the charges had gone through saying that I had raped her” he began, continuing on to say “then that would have gone onto my record and I would have had to register as a sex offender.” This is just one example showing that victims are not the only ones to deal with stress that comes with rape.
Although the act in itself is known to cause mental issues, it is also known that many victims surpass the effects. Inspirational survival stories are seen on many different websites. Some stories recount what took place in detail while others only give the result. One story told by a victim stated that she was molested, then raped by her cousin. She starts off by saying that she felt responsible for the sexual assault done to her niece. “It began when I was 8 years old and continued for years,” she said. Going into detail, she tells of how the cousin would rape her just about any time he went over to her house, taking advantage of her silence. This story eventually went back to her niece where she said that the girl was taken advantage of by that very same cousin. The rape and the mental stress that followed were tears, an attempted suicide, and even distrust of men. She survived her rape and beat her mental issues by finding a loving husband that understood her and helped her through the chaos.
Rape and its mental stress is a serious issue in different parts of the globe. The number of rapes has been seen to rise as well as fall but the question is when it will really cease to exist.
By Isis E. Stevens