The Dread of Being Raped

Rapists come from all areas of society. Many times, they live in normal relationships with other women. It is difficult to determine a particular biological reason or personality trait of the typical rapist. An attack can happen to anyone, anywhere. Most attacks in fact, take place in the victim own home and by someone they know. No one is to blame for rape but the aggressor. The aggressor is the one who needs to feel unnecessary power by committing such an act. By blaming the victim the attacked is no longer at fault and their actions are justified.

The outlook toward rape changes constantly and is different cultures. The view on male and female sexuality in one society at a certain period has been and is directly related to the approach toward rape. When speaking about sexuality and rape, it is very important to consider the way men and women are portrayed in media, advertising, movies and music videos, in pornography. It is also important to remain critical toward myths of sexuality, such as that a man’s sexual drive is an uncontrollable natural force, or that women say no but mean yes.


Society’s attitude toward sexuality and rape is reflected in its laws, but perhaps for the most part in the legal process itself. One example of that these two do not always correspond, is that questions about the victim’s behavior, dress, ability to say no in a way the perpetrator understands, etc., are raised in court, despite the fact that according to Swedish law, the woman’s behavior prior to the assault is irrelevant. Another example is that even though the law considers intoxication a vulnerable condition, research indicates that women are commonly regarded as less believable, both in social and legal respects, if they were intoxicated when the rape occurred.

After being raped many victims feel “isolated” . Sufferers feel this way because the people around them do not try to sympathize, acknowledge the situations, or they want the victims to get over it. Many times they have no one to speak to about the event therefore it is constantly rewinding in their head causing their healing process to never end. Talking about the rape or describing the physical details to strangers (police, medical staff, advocates, courts, etc.) can be very difficult and may produce a feeling of embarrassment for some survivors. Because sex and bodies are thought of to be private and somewhat shameful, it can be emotionally painful to recount the assault or even to inform friends and family.

Many survivors experience intense feelings of rage at their attacker, friends, family, or life in general. They may be angry at the treatment they received after the rape, or because they feel powerless. While anger can be a difficult emotion to deal with, anger directed at the perpetrator can play an important role in the healing process. “I just want to kill him!” “How dare the police, courts, doctors, etc. treat me like that!”

Slutwalk in Knoxville
Slutwalk in Knoxville

Victims of rape or sexual assault may turn to alcohol or other substances in an attempt to relieve their emotional suffering. In the U.S., victims of sexual assault report higher levels of psychological distress and the consumption of alcohol than non-victims, in part, to self-medicate. Some victims use substances to cope with the reality of what happened to them or to cope with the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a common reaction to an extreme situation like sexual assault. However, it is not a healthy way to deal with the trauma of sexual assault and can cause additional problems, such as addiction or dependence, which hinder the healing process.

Survivors of sexual assault or sexual abuse in childhood may abuse drugs to help them “numb out” and push away the painful memories of sexual violence. Victims may also turn to drugs instead of true recovery resources, such as counseling.

Some women feel as though no one will want them for being “damaged goods” . Someone’s virginity should not determine their value but unfortunately throughout the world virginity is very precious and valuable. In some cultures if a woman is no longer a virgin her life has no longer has value and cannot marry. Some women are even killed if they are no longer a virgin.


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