Closing The Door To Suicide Specializing in Helping Survivors of Rape
Violence against women and girls is a complex issue that permeates our culture. Around the world, rape and sexual abuse are everyday violent occurrences.
Countless women and girls across the globe have experienced forced intercourse or some other type of forced sexual act at some point in their lives.
The most common perpetrators are current or former partners, boyfriends or husbands.
In the United States, sexual assault occurs every 98 seconds. It’s estimated that 17,700,000 women have been the victims of rape since 1998. 1 in 6 American women has survived an attempted or completed rape.
In September of 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Rape not only directly impacts survivors, but also those in their lives, their community, and society at large. It’s a global epidemic.
Regardless of whether the assault happened more recently or years ago and whether the assault was completed or attempted, it can impact daily functioning.
Rape survivors experience a wide range of reactions. Common emotional reactions include shame, embarrassment, guilt and blaming self. Fear, lack of trust, sadness, isolation, and vulnerability are also part of the emotional impact.
The psychological reactions experienced by survivors include flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty concentrating, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Physically survivors experience changes in their sleep and eating patterns, concerns about their safety and a sense of having no control. Anger, numbness, and confusion become a part of their daily experience along with anxiety.
Additionally, those who have been sexually assaulted are 6 times more likely to use cocaine and 10 times more likely to use other major drugs.
After sexual violence the likelihood that an individual suffers depression or suicidal thoughts increases.
Additionally, statistics show that…
94% of women who have been raped experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the two weeks following the rape.
30% of women report symptoms of PTSD 9 months after the rape
33% of women who are raped contemplate suicide
13% of women who are raped attempt suicide
Approximately 70% of rape or sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime.
The average number of victims of rape and sexual assault per year in the U.S. is 321,500
In the U.S. rape costs survivors $127, 000,000,000 every year, excluding child sexual abuse.
Women between the ages of 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault and female college students ages 18-24 are three times more likely than women in the general population to experience sexual violence.
3% of men will be raped in their lifetime
90% of adult rape victims are female
$241,600 is the estimated lifetime income that a survivor of sexual violence who was abused as an adolescent loses.
7 in 10 of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows
Needless to say, these statistics are staggering.
To get beyond the impact of rape, it’s necessary for those suffering from it to not see themselves as victims, but instead, as survivors.
Moving through the shame, the blame, the physical, psychological and emotional impact is part of the path to reclaiming self-worth and become empowered to live the life you deserve.
Be willing to get help for yourself or someone you know. Help is available in the U.S. from the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656. 4673 and in Canada contact the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at Assaulted Women’s Hotline 866.863.0511 for Ontario. Check your area for local numbers.
I’m Sheila Hawkins. I’m an advocate for women and I work with survivors of rape to help them overcome its impact. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org