Rape

Rape

Alternate Names

  • sexual abuse
  • sexual assault

Definition

Rape is the physical act of attacking another person and forcing that person to have sex. It is the illegal sexual penetration of any body opening.

What is the information for this topic?

Some safety measures to help prevent rape when one is at home, in a car, or getting in or out of the car of house include:
  • Do not let a stranger into the house without proper identification.
  • Do not list a first name on a mailbox or in a phone book.
  • Have the key ready before reaching the door of a car or house.
  • Keep a light on at all entrances.
  • Keep doors and windows locked.
  • Look in the car before entering.
  • Make arrangements with a neighbor for assistance in emergency situations.
  • Set the house lights to go on and off with a timer.
Other safety measures one can take to help prevent rape are as follows:
  • Appear strong and confident.
  • Avoid isolated and secluded areas.
  • Do not hitchhike.
  • Do not walk or jog alone at night.
  • Look for unusual behavior in those around you.
  • Scream loudly if attacked.
  • Sit in lighted areas and near other people such as the driver when using public transportation.
When someone has been raped, the rape should immediately be reported to the police. The victim should be taken to a medical facility and examined. If it works for the health professional and the law enforcement official to get the story at the same time, it spares the individual the trauma of having to repeat it.
The person should not bathe before this examination, as this might destroy needed evidence. Additionally, clothing or samples of clothing might be collected by the police as evidence.
During this exam, a healthcare professional will take the following steps:
  • check for bruises, bite marks, and other trauma
  • remove pubic hair samples
  • take swabs from the anus and mouth
  • take swabs from the vaginal area if the victim is a female
  • test for pregnancy if the victim is a female, and provide emergency contraception if needed
  • test for sexually transmitted infections and provide treatment as needed
The professional will treat all cuts and wounds. However, often the emotional wounds are more severe than the physical wounds. It is very important that the victim get counseling and therapy. A local rape crisis center can help the victim through this trauma. Recovery from rape varies from person to person.
Usually the physical wounds heal quickly, but mental wounds can last for many years after the attack. A rape victim may be viewed as suffering a posttraumatic stress disorder. This usually has an acute phase, lasting a few days to a few weeks, which is followed by a long-term process of recovery.
Many rape victims suffer from the following:
  • anger
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • fear
  • flashbacks
  • mood swings
  • shock
  • sleep disorders
If the person does not receive effective treatment, he or she may experience these difficulties:
  • alcohol abuse
  • drug abuse
  • inability to establish long-term relationships
  • phobias
  • problems with sex
  • suicidal thoughts
Rape victims can go on to lead normal lives. It is very important to their mental health that they get proper counseling. Healthcare professionals can help the victim work through many of the problems that result from rape and can help monitor the victim's healing, both physically and mentally.

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