The Crime of Rape

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RAPE Introduction: Rape is one of the most serious crimes that an individual can commit. There are a variety of laws that deal with the offence of rape, giving a guideline on how investigative officers should handle victims of rape, and also suspects of rape. An example of such kind of law is the sexual offences act of 2003. This law was passed in 2003, by the parliament of the United Kingdom, and it establishes the ways and manner in which police officers ought to deal with rape and it gives a clear definition of rape (Bonnes, 2011). This act defines rape as a sexual offence that occurs when an individual intentionally penetrates the mouth, anus, or vagina of another person with his penis, and without the consent of the victim. In as much as rape is a negative phenomenon, and causes much suffering to the victims, the victims of rape are always seen in a very negative perspective. In a survey conducted in 2010, for purposes of celebrating the 10th anniversary for the Haven service on rape victims, results showed that more than a half, of the 1000 people surveyed in London denoted that rape victims should take responsibility for the attack (Messina-Dysert, 2012). In another survey, sponsored by Amnesty International in 2008, found that more than half of those surveyed believed that a woman who is raped, should be partially responsible for the attack (Suarez and Gadalla, 2010). This is if the woman engaged in a flirtatious behavior, or inappropriately dressed. This survey was conducted at the Northern Ireland University (Davies, Gilston and Rogers, 2012). For purposes of understanding why the society has negative attitudes towards victims of rape, it is important to first understand the aspect of demonization of women who are promiscuous. Women normally live with the constant knowledge and fear of arbitrary judgment against them, when they have many sexual partners (Messina-Dysert, 2012). However, the most worrying trend, the society will always pass a negative judgment on a woman who is raped, and is believed to have so many partners, or is promiscuous. Due to these negative judgments against rape victims, the victims fear to come forward, for purposes of reporting incidences of the crime of rape (Nowrojee, 2005). This paper takes a stand that the negative perceptions and judgments against the victims of rape compound their sufferings. This paper analyzes the various perceptions of rape victims, and how these perceptions play a role in preventing rape victims from accessing justice. In order to meet the objectives of this paper, the researcher will first identify the reasons as to why some people rape women and the effects of rape against the victims. In order to understand effectively the negative perceptions that some society have against victims of rape, it is essential to understand the causes of rape, and its consequences. The effects of rape that this paper analyzes are the physical and psychological effects. After the identification of these causes and effects, this paper will analyze the various perceptions that the society has towards rape victims, and how they are affected psychologically, and physically. This paper has a recommendation on how to help victims of rape recover from their sufferings, and a conclusion which is a summary of the major points contained in this paper. Causes of Rape and its consequences: It is important to denote that the causes of rape is not about having some sexual satisfaction, but seeking for power and total control. Most rapists are emotionally unstable men, who are insecure and are not able to approach a woman in an open manner (Davies, Gilston and Rogers, 2012). To assert a sense of control, rapists would force a woman into having sexual activity with them, as a result leading to a sense of power and control. It is important to denote that some rapists normally have a wife and they get their sexual satisfaction from their wives. However, these rapists cannot forceful touch their wives and instill fear in them (Goodhart, 2007). Rape has two major effects that are physical, and psychological. Physical effects include urinary infections, painful penile penetrations, acquirance of sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancies (Davies, Gilston and Rogers, 2012). Psychological effects on the other hand includes, self blame, depression, negative flashback, anger, distrust, stress, sleeping disorders, feeling of vulnerability, and withdrawing from friendship associations. It is important to denote that the society has inappropriately placed some of the causes of rape to the victim himself (Ryan, 2011). These causes of rape, that the society denotes are the responsibility of the victim on most occasions lead to the negative perception of rape victims. It is these negative perceptions that normally increase the physical and psychological suffering of rape victims. However, it is important to denote that the society will apportion blame on the rape victim, based on the traditions and culture of the society under consideration. Perceptions of rape victims and its effects on the victims: The attitudinal based characteristics of an observer play a great role in the explanation of the negative perceptions towards victims of rape. These attitudinal characteristics are shaped by the traditional stereotyping of gender roles, and sexual conservatism. Studies give a revelation that people who normally find it okay for a male person to be drunk, as opposed to a female person normally have negative attitudes towards victims of rape (Hong, 2013). The following are some of the attitudinal characteristics that are responsible for passing negative judgment on women rape victims, the promiscuity of the woman, dressing inappropriately by the woman, drunkenness, unnecessary flirting, the respect that the victim had within the society. These people argue that a raped woman might have been either a drunkard, and as a result, she was unable to control her emotions or feelings (Withey, 2010). They further argue that most women who are raped must either be promiscuous, and as a result, they enjoyed the act of rape. On this basis, the claim that they are raped is false, and does not hold any ground (Goodhart, 2007). These people further denote that a woman might have initiated the act of rape, because she was either flirting with the man under consideration, or she was inappropriately dressed, arousing the rapists (Hong, 2013). Based on these arguments, these people claim that it is a rape victim who is to blame for the attack against them. It is important to denote that there is little study on the causes of negative perception that people have towards male rape victims (Ayinde, 2010). Studies reveal that there is an increase in the number of male rape victims, and they are always blamed for the attack, just as the female rape victims are blamed for an attack against them (Riccardi, 2010). Studies reveal that male victims are always viewed negatively by the police, and health workers, and on this basis, few cases of male rape are always reported. The negative perceptions that people have towards male rape victims emanates from the sexuality of the male individual (Ayinde, 2010). The male are always believed to be strong, and on this basis, they are supposed to be in control of their sexuality and sexual lives. On this basis, a male who is raped, is weak, and is not in control of his own sexuality. The male rape victims are also considered promiscuous, and this is because they were not able to control their sexuality (Goodhart, 2007). Due to these negative perceptions of rape victims, it would be very difficult for these people to report the crimes to law enforcement officers. This is because they would feel guilty of orchestrating the crime, they will also be shameful, and their levels of stress would increase (Gilbert, 1998). Failing to report the crime to police officers, would mean that the suspect is still on the loose, and he would attack again. This is the kind of fear that rape victims will have, leading to an increase in their stress level. This is because they do not know if the rapist would return or not. For fear of victimization, these victims might not seek for medical attention. This might make them to contract dangerous diseases such as HIV, Syphilis, and other STDs, if not detected early (Withey, 2010). It might also make the patient to suffer from more stress, because of failure to get some psychological treatment. Due to these negative perceptions on rape victims, these victims begin blaming themselves, accelerating further their psychological and physical health (Tavrow, Withers, Obbuyyi, Omollo and Wu, 2013). This is because their stress level will grow, leaving them vulnerable to emotional torture. Homophobia is another reason as to why people have a negative feeling towards male rape victims. Homophobia refers to a range of negative feelings that the society has against the gay people, this includes homosexuals, lesbians, the transgender, and the bi-sexual people (Koshan, 2012). Homophobia can always be expressed in the form of hatred, prejudice, antipathy, contempt, and it is always based on religious and traditional beliefs. Take for example the Buggery Act of 1533 that outlawed home sexuality in England. The consequences of being caught in a homosexuality act was death, however, such kind of laws were repelled by the 2004 civil partnership act that recognizes homosexuality (Vidal, 2011). In Uganda, the president recently signed the anti-homosexuality law that imprisoned any one found engaging in homosexual acts for life. According to this law, anyone who fails to report an homosexual, is also vulnerable to imprisonment. It is important to denote that male rape victims are always associated with homosexuality, and this is an erroneous assumption (Goodhart, 2007). In as much as studies reveal that victims and offenders of male rape are on most occasions’ heterosexual, male rape is perceived to be associated with motives of homosexuality (Suarez and Gadalla, 2010). On this basis, observers are more likely to invoke homophobic feelings against male victims, as they will view them as homosexuals. People view homosexuality as a negative and deviant behavior that goes against the norm within the society. Homosexuality is considered to be an evil behavior that is against the major religions of the world, which includes Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and even Judaism (Delisi, 2013). These religions believe that sexual acts must only occur between a man and a woman, and it is for purposes of recreation. On this basis, any sexual act, that occurs between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman is evil, and must be punished. This therefore brings us to the concept of the Just World Theory in explaining the perceptions that people have towards victims of rape, more so, victims of male rape (Delisi, 2013). According to the Just World Theory, people will always get whatever they deserve in life (Withey, 2010). This theory denotes that the world is a just and a fair place, and anyone living a moral life, will be rewarded by morality, and anyone living an immoral life, will be rewarded by immorality (Dosekun, 2013). Those people who ascribe to this theory believe that when a good thing or issue happens to an individual, then it is because the same person did some good things. However, when a bad thing happens to an individual, such as rape, then that person did some bad things, i.e. that person can be immoral, or promiscuous (Suarez and Gadalla, 2010). This theory apportions blame to the victim, as opposed to the person who committed the act. On this basis, victims of rape are responsible for the attack, and this leads to an aspect of self blame (Schroeder, 2010). As discussed earlier, self-blame is not a positive effect, as it will have a psychological effect on the victim leading to an increase in their stress levels, and creating emotional imbalances. It will be very difficult for these people to access medical and psychological services because of self-blame, and fear of victimization from medical personnel (Egan and Wilson, 2011). This might make their health system to fail, and they may even be tempted to commit suicide because of high levels of stress. Male victims on the other will not report such kind of an incidence to the police, or any other authority. This is because of the homophobia that exists because of such an attack. For instance in Uganda, it will be difficult for a male rape victim to report to the police, for fear of being mistaken as a homosexual. Recommendation on how to change the negative perceptions against rape victims: In order to help these victims, the society needs to appreciate the various character traits of people. For example, one of the contributing factors of a negative perception against rape victims is the demonization of women who are promiscuous (Delisi, 2013). The society has a negative attitude towards women viewed as promiscuous, and as a result, when they are raped, the society does not feel any pity towards them. This has to stop, and this is because it is not the business of anybody on how many people a woman sleeps with. What the society needs to do is to encourage moral behavior through education, and use of the social media (Delisi, 2013). Condemning this people to the point of accepting a breach of their rights is not prudent and good. On this basis, the society needs to have a change of attitude in regard to immoral women, and help them to achieve justice in case they are raped. The society also needs to accept that there is the existence of the homosexuals, and the lesbians (Kavaler-Adler, 2010). In as much as these are negative aspects of the society, there is a need of initiating policies aimed at helping them live normal lives. This is as opposed to discriminating them, and passing unfair judgments against them. The British government has realized the importance of recognizing the rights of these people, and hence it has formulated various laws and legislations aimed at protecting the homosexuals, the lesbians, the transgender, against discrimination, stigma, and a breach of their human rights (Klippenstine and Schuller, 2012). Laws such as the civil partnership act of 2004, and the equality act of 2010, protects the homosexuals and the lesbians against discrimination, and stigma. It is also important for oppressive laws, such as the Ugandan anti-homosexual bill of 2014 to be abolished. This would help in instilling confidence amongst this group of people, and when stigma and discrimination in regard to homosexuals is removed, male victims of rape might get the confidence of reporting such kind of atrocities against them. There is also a need by various governments to educate the public on the causes of rape, and the consequence of such an attack has on its victims. Through education, the government might succeed in changing the negative attitudes that people have towards rape victims. Under education, the government and other civil societies might use the television, radio stations, the internet, and newspapers to pass on their messages. Conclusion: In conclusion, rape is a very serious offence that normally has some negative impact on the victims. Victims of rape usually suffer from physical and physiological effects. These physical effects include body injuries, unwanted pregnancies, and diseases. Physiological effects include stigma, depression and stress. In as much as rape is a negative thing, victims of rape usually suffer from stigma and discrimination. This is because they are always blamed for the attack against them. This promotes an issue of self-blame amongst the victims of rape, leading to an increase in depression or stress. To help these people, there is a need of changing the attitudes of people against rape victims. 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