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Stress and Recovery After Rape Essay

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Updated: May 22nd, 2020

Rape denotes an act of sexual assault that entails forceful sexual intercourse (Stanko, 1990). It is considered a criminal act and is punishable in every society. This vice comes with plenty of trauma for the victim in the psychological sense, which shatters the life of the victim (Adams, 2012). Rape victims need much counseling and close attention to recover from the trauma that follows it. Stanko (2013) notes that those problems that come about as a result of rape can subject the victim to mental torture and even develop into a sickness if unattended. Therefore, immediate attention can help resolve the problem before it gets out of hand. This essay discusses the rape of an acquaintance, the stress she went through, and the approach she used to cope with the problem.

Memories of the trauma experienced by the victim were still fresh in her mind three years after the sexual assault. The victim grappled with plenty of mental trauma after the incident. The problems she went through after the incident was shock and disbelief, followed by acute stress, which deteriorated the quality of her life tremendously. Additionally, she went through life with a lack of self-esteem, and nurturing relationships with other people became a problem.

The victim’s emotional and mental problems spiraled into a state of depression. She always felt sad and hopeless. Sometimes she would be found crying in seclusion. A significant loss of weight occurred, as she was unable to eat. Stanko (2013) observes that the feeling of depression is characterized by the loss of appetite. A depression patient feels lost in life and develops a sense of rejection, which can lead to suicidal thoughts (Stanko, 2013).

The victim also developed a sense of disassociation, where she felt that she was in another world. She often had nightmares as her mind was always fixed on the incident. Stanko (1990) notes that when the problem of disassociation becomes complex in a victim, it becomes difficult for them to function normally. The victim may lose concentration on work or studies in case she is a student. The situation of the victim in question was consistent with Stanko’s assertion as she became unable to undertake her normal chores due to the problems caused by the rape incident.

She found it difficult to talk to friends and other people in society. She always harbored the notion that she was the talk of everybody. Consequently, she tried to isolate herself to avoid embarrassment. In agreement with her action, Stanko (1990) argues that sexual assault makes one develop an attitude of rejection and helplessness. They end up keeping to themselves and trying to resolve their issues without any help from a second party. The incident also affected the spiritual wellbeing of the victim. She developed the feeling that she had been rejected even by God, whom she had believed in so much. As a result, she stopped attending church programs as she used to do before.

However, since life had to go on, the incident changed her life in a negative way. She started excessive drinking in an attempt to cope with the situation. At the time, she believed that becoming an alcoholic would alleviate the stress and the feeling of separation from society. Adams (2012) argues that most rape victims indulge in drug abuse in order to cope with the problems underneath. However, this habit can only relieve the pain for a short while but complicates the victim’s life further.

Drinking did not resolve the victim’s problems. She sought to find other alternatives. Therefore, she started talking to friends and relatives about the issue because she realized that doing so somehow relieved her pain. Apparently, this approach was the best strategy to resolve the problem because Stanko (2013) opines that victims of rape need counseling from immediate and close friends or relatives. It helps them deal with the emotional difficulties they undergo. Further, victims are advised to seek help from designated counseling centers or professionals. These centers usually have plenty of resources to help people who are suffering from trauma feel safe and loved (Stanko, 1990).

The victim also involved herself in physical activities, as advised by her counselor. Keeping oneself busy breaks the monotony of being alone, which could give way to negative thoughts and exacerbate stress (Stanko, 1990). Physical activities also give the body the stamina to overcome the difficulty and stay alert all the time. The physical activities helped much, especially in resolving the problem of being alone.

Based on advice and encouragement from her counselor, she was able to adopt a well-balanced diet. This change helped her to recover her strength and focus. It also allowed her to start having a better sleep. It is necessary that trauma victims give themselves enough time to rest after eating well in order to allow the body to replenish its used energy (Stanko, 2013).

The victim was also advised to develop a positive feeling about the situation and go on normally with her chores to eliminate the stress. She was encouraged to share her feelings with those people she felt comfortable with, but avoid those people who influenced her recovery efforts negatively.

The best precaution victims of rape should consider is that they should first report the incident to the police before taking a bath. It can seem to be irritating, but it is the best idea for a start. Once the incident has been reported, the police are in a position to assist the victim in managing the problems of insecurity that follow such incidents. The repercussions of rape can include many health problems, such as contracting HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies.

Most rape perpetrators never use protection, and one can easily contract sexually transmitted diseases as well. Physical bruises are also associated with the act. The physical injuries occur when the assaulted person is a minor, and the perpetrator uses force. The force can even leave the victim with broken bones in some exceptional cases. Therefore, reporting the incident will prompt the police to seek a health consultant who can promptly initiate treatment for any health problems related to the incident. They can later refer the victim to a counselor who can assist in overcoming the psychological trauma that follows.

Sexual assault victims need time to recover. Thus, there is a need for patience from the victim and those around them. When rape instigated stress is carefully managed, a victim can recover quickly and return to their normal life. Perpetrators of rape are criminals that need to be punished severely to stop them from committing more similar crimes, which can lead to stressful experiences for other people. Potential victims should also try to avoid placing themselves in positions of vulnerability. For example, walking alone in the dark in unsafe places and wearing clothes that are too revealing is not advisable. Arguably, taking precautions is the best strategy for dealing with any situation.


Adams, B. (2012). Effects of sexual victimization on suicidal ideation and behavior in U.S. college women. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 28(1), 107-126. Web.

Stanko, E. (1990). Everyday violence (1st ed.). London, England: Pandora. Web.

Stanko, E. (2013). Intimate Intrusions (1st ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Taylor and Francis. Web.

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