The physical and psychological trauma one goes through after rape is unexplainable and devastating. The sympathy and pain that we feel for the victims is nothing compared to what they actually feel and go through. We have enormous respect and huge support for all the survivors of rape. To them, whatever happened is not your fault. You deserve the best of everything in life. People who know a rape survivor, a family, a friend, a neighbor and the society as a whole, should support to make her live a healthy normal life that she deserves. It has been found that a rape victim is at high risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, substance use disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and eating disorders. The risk for these disorders may be greater for people who have experienced a sexual assault at a younger age. The society has to understand the trauma a rape victim goes through. Instead of falling into this brutish behavior of victim blaming and slut-shaming, people should and must render her help instead. So that not only will she heal faster but also such initiatives will give hope to other victims to report the rape happened to them.
We know how the majority of rape cases go unreported not just in India but it’s a major issue all around the world. This happens due to fear of disbelief, retaliation, humiliation and unjustified blame. Such fears are induced by the unjust talk of community on the victim, getting further victimized by the police and health workers and being failed by the court of law. People act like they are immune to the horror of rape and only strongly react to it when something as brutal as in Nirbhaya case happens. It would be a lot better if everyone react the same way for every rape survivors.
“Time and again, people have hinted that perhaps death would have been better than the loss of that precious ‘virginity.’ I refuse to accept this. My life is worth too much to me,”
Quoted Sohaila Abdulali
One such example of further brutal traumatizing of the victim is “two-finger test” run on the rape survivors. The so-called virginity test is nothing but a form of harassment which only further traumatizes the victim. In May 2013, the Supreme Court of India held that the two-finger test on a rape victim violates her right to privacy. Yet several cases have been found where rape victims have been subjected to the two-finger test and some by means of force. Then there are also cases of when the doctors show doubt in the survivor.
However, last year on October 2018, The UN Human Rights, UN Women and the World Health Organization (WHO) stated the test must end as it is painful, humiliating and traumatic practice, constituting violence against women. Such kinds of brutality must be eradicated not just from India but from around the world where it still persists. Some of the police forces of various Indian States are known to avoid filing rape cases let alone acting on them.
The male-dominated and corrupted police officers, insensitive health workers and the lack of legal support combine to make it almost impossible for the justice to be served to the survivors. This also leads to the repeat of offense. These acts of doctors and police officers let down people’s belief in them and it also hinders a survivor’s path to justice. It’s a necessity that the police, doctors, and nurses need to be further educated and trained on giving proper care to a rape survivor who shows bravery by reporting it. However, there are various NGOs in India which fights for women’s right. One such NGO is Jan Sahas Social Development Society which runs a program to help rape victims and their family. In response to the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, Jan Sahas started Nirbhaya Abhiyan, a program that provides direct support to victims of rape and sexual abuse and their families. It helps survivors at the police station, hospital, and court, besides providing them shelter, counseling and legal aid. The initiative also advocates the effective implementation of the law and creates awareness in society about rape and sexual assault.
Then there are various initiatives in social media which fight against rape culture. Such talks need to go on. Everyone including children need to understand about it too. And all the rape survivors need to be encouraged to report the rape and not doubt themselves. The survivors need encouragement, love, care, and support in every form from everyone.