Rape still remains an unspoken issue plaguing our society. Hundreds of rape incidents occur each day and never get reported. Many rape victims become depressed, go into seclusion and some may pretend as though the incident never even happened. This piece is written with the intent to help give a voice to those who are unable to speak.
Statistics state that 1 in 4 women have been raped. These statistics are based on reported incidents solely. Many individuals who have been the victim of rape choose to stay silent. The above statistics would probably quadruple if all rape victims came forward to report the crime.
Coping with such a heinous incident like rape is extremely difficult. There are many victims that adapt the ‘It was my fault’ mentality. This mindset comes from the victim mentally panning through what they could have done differently to prevent the attack from happening. They come up with reasons to put the blame on themselves. Some feel they asked for ‘it’. Others feel as though they could have been more careful.
Victims of rape need to realize that under no circumstances, is it okay for any person to force themselves on you. Your body is a temple. Your style of clothing does not give anyone the right to treat you as an object. The meaning of the word ‘no’ will never change. Everyone in this world changes their mind from time to time. It is in your right to change your mind.
If you have been raped, you must always remember that you are not alone. Being raped is a traumatic and life-changing experience. No individual is the same after the incident. Some individuals shy away from sex and relationships, while others become even more sexual. Many victims think that if they cope with the ordeal alone, then it will eventually disappear. Unfortunately, the memory and experience as a whole will never disappear. A better route would be to seek refuge with a support group. It is extremely difficult to go out on limp and expose yourself to a group of people you don’t know. However, those support groups are filled people who have been through similar incidents. Sometimes a complete stranger can understand you better than your family and friends ever could. Sites like DailyStrength, Pandys and AfterSilence are just a few of the many support groups that offer support and counseling for individuals who feel lost or alone.
Speaking up about what happened to you is essential to the healing process. Initially it may seem hard to express yourself, but being vocal about your rape is a freeing experience. There are hundreds of colleges, universities, functions and gatherings that would love to have a survivor tell their story. The mere thought of rehashing your experience in front of a group of people may seem overwhelming. However, once you look out into the crowd and see those faces hanging onto your every word, you will realize that your courageous efforts have definitely made a lasting impact. Your ability to come forward may ultimately give one woman/man in that crowd the strength to be vocal too.
Public speaking doesn’t come easy for some individuals. Keeping a diary/journal is great for those who feel they won’t be able to let their voice be heard. Writing is an expression of a person’s innermost thoughts. Many people find it easier to express their feelings through their writing. There have been many authors who have turned their personal diaries into novels. Keeping a journal/diary allows you to write down any and every thought that crosses your mind. Writing your thoughts saves you from being ridiculed and criticized by those who don’t understand you. Your heart might be heavy, but writing allows your mind to be free. Writing in a diary/journal is like having a written conversation with your mind.
Sometimes helping a person will heal the open wounds you bare. Money and jail time will never compensate for this horrific experience. Those who have been raped possess the power to help prevent their attacker from harming someone else. Never feel ashamed to take a stand against someone who harms the innocent. Your voice just might save another life. There may be times when you wonder how you’ll be able to overcome this nightmare. But you have to remember to never underestimate the strength that you possess. It is not until you are tested, that you will realize your own strength. Free yourself of the ‘victim’ status and embrace the fact that you are a survivor. As Father James Keller once said, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”