How do I cope with/survive rape?
Some background, some drama
Nobody wants to be raped. Nobody should ever be raped. Most people don't even want to think about the possibility that it could ever happen to them. But, if you have been sexually assaulted, it's important to know how to respond immediately and learn to cope with the trauma and the aftermath. Rapists are predators. Rape victims experience fear, disbelief, anger, hurt and a sense of betrayal. Most victims sense a feeling that life had been changed forever and wonder whether they can ever cope. Remember that rape is ultimately the rapist's fault, not the victim's. But learning to survive and cope with rape is ultimately n the victim’s hands, however long the healing takes.
Do’s and Don’ts
Tell yourself: "They may force my body to their will, but they will not take my soul, my dignity, my morality, and they certainly will not take my spirit."
The “How Do I" series tries to list down a few Do’s and don’ts to guide you to cope with/survive rape.
- First make sure you escape from the rapist and go to a safe location.
- Keep all evidence intact. This will help you to lodge a police complaint and take legal action.
- Call a local law enforcement agency, rape crisis center or victim's rights group. A volunteer can take you to the hospital.
- Get a medical exam. This will be important if you decide to press charges.
- Choose to take drugs to prevent pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted diseases at your discretion.
- Once you have a doctor or police officer's approval, go home, shower and rest.
- Allow family and friends to give you support and help you.
- Seek counselling from a therapist or family doctor for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- Do your part to get rid of rape culture. Preventing potential rapes ultimately depends on educating people on rape and taking a stand against it.
- Practice being at peace in your life when difficult events occur.
- Reach out and help other victims to survive.
- Don't blame yourself. There is nothing to be ashamed about.
- Don't think that it was your fault: no one has the right to rape someone else.
- Don't ever stop living your life. It can be overwhelming; though you should take precautions, you can't be afraid forever.
- Don’t listen to anti-humanist thinking which always blames the victims.
- Don't underestimate your abilities. The human body has amazing strength in situations like this. You’d be surprised what you can do survive.
- Don't keep it to yourself. It is not something you should go through alone.
- Don’t hesitate to seek help; friends, family, police, counsellors or the law.
If, as a victim of rape, you change your thoughts, you can soften the blow of whatever is happening in your life. Rape does not have to be the worst thing in the world, though it may feel that way. It is not fair. It is your body and if this precious gift is taken beyond your will, it does not have to take everything out of you and shut you down forever. You will live on.