Rape, a form of sexual assault, can happen to men and women of any age. Rape is forced and unwanted. Rape is not about sex; it's about power.  A rapist uses force or violence- or the threat of it to gain control over another human being.

Rape is a crime, whether the person who committed it is a stranger, a date, a friend, an acquaintance or a family member.

Rape And Sexual Assault

The terms rape and sexual assault are used to differentiate between two types of offence.

Rape is defined as the penetration of another person’s vagina, anus or mouth with a body part or object without that person's consent.

Sexual assault is the act of physically, psychologically and emotionally violating someone without their consent in the form of a sexual act. This involves forcing or manipulating someone to witness or participate in sexual acts.

It is important to note that sexual assault may not always involve violence, cause physical injury or leave visible marks.

Rape Culture

Rape culture is a society and environment where rape is prevalent and sexual violence against women is normalized in media and pop culture. Rape culture is conserved through misogynistic language, objectification of women’s bodies and the glamorization of sexual violence- resulting in a society that disregards the rights and safety of women.

Rape culture affects every woman. The rape of one woman leads to degradation, terror and limitation for all women. Most women and girls live in fear of rape, and most men don’t.

Rape is about power as it holds the female population in a subordinate position to the male population even though many men don’t rape and most women are not victims of rape. This cycle of fear is due to rape culture.

Examples of Rape Culture 

  • Blaming the victim
  • Trivializing sexual assault
  • Sexually explicit jokes
  • Tolerance and ignoring sexual harassment
  • Normalising and trivialising behaviours like eve teasing and stalking.
  • Scrutinizing the victim’s dress, mental state, history and so on.
  • Gendered violence in movies and television
  • Defining masculinity as dominant and sexually aggressive
  • Defining femininity as submissive and sexually passive
  • Pressure on women to be warm and not appear cold
  • Pressure on men to ‘score.’
  • The assumption that men don’t get raped
  • The assumption that sexually active women get raped
  • Not taking rape accusations seriously
  • Teaching women to avoid getting raped rather than teaching men not to rape.

What To Do If One Has Been Sexually Assaulted Or Raped? 

Take care of yourself in the way that is best for you. For some people, that involves reporting the crime immediately and fighting to see the rapist brought to justice. For others, this might include seeking medical and emotional care without reporting the crime.

There are three essential things that anyone who has been raped should do:

Know that the Rape Was Not Your Fault. 

Whatever happened was not your fault, and no one has the right to have sex with you without your consent, against your will.

Sometimes people are hesitant to speak to the police because they were voluntarily taking drugs or drinking alcohol before the offence happened. Sometimes they have little to no recollection of what happened, and they might be worried that no one will believe them.

The blame for rape is solely on the rapist, and what a person wears, says, or acts is never a justification for rape.

Seek Medical Help 

A person who has been raped needs to see a medical doctor as soon as possible. Most medical centres and emergency departments have doctors and counsellors trained to care for someone who has been raped. It is crucial to get medical care as a doctor will check you for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and any internal injuries.

You should get medical care without changing your clothes, showering, douching or washing. We understand that it can be hard not to clean up as it is human instinct to wash away all traces of sexual assault. Being examined right away will ensure that you get proper medical treatment.

Deal With Your Feelings

Rape is not just physically harmful; it may also be emotionally distressing. A person can begin healing with the correct emotional care, attention, and support.

Someone who has been raped can feel many emotions: degradation, anger, fright, numbness or confusion. It is also normal for someone who has been raped to feel ashamed and embarrassed. Some may withdraw and isolate themselves from family and friends, and others do not want to be alone.

The feelings surrounding rape may appear physically, like trouble sleeping or eating. It might be challenging to concentrate in class or participate in extracurricular activities. Some might have feelings of self-harm. Experts refer to these feelings and their physical consequences as rape trauma syndrome. Professional assistance is the greatest method to move through these feelings.