Rape is like causing a cemetery to grow inside the victim’s body. It is the most heinous thing you can do to an individual. In the Philippines, this crime is punishable by law and the accused can be sentenced to reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment (Republic Act 8353, 2009). A study by Centre for Women’s Resources (CWR) discusses that the victims of rape in the country are getting younger and increasing in number (Villanueva, 2016). While in the data from the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA), it mentions that out of all the cases of rape happened in the country, only 7,416 were given justice (Perez, 2016). Due to cultural and social stigmatization, many victims prefer to maintain their silence. Thus, rape can greatly alter the victim’s life for it affects his/her emotional and psychological state, develops fear in his/her environment, and affects him/her physically.
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Being a victim of sexual violence leaves you vulnerable on many levels. Such as it can expose the victim on being emotionally and psychologically unstable. There are many consequences that a victim can experience. One of these is that the victims may lose the feeling of having control on their lives and trust on their selves, for rape gives them a mentality that everyone has the right to decide for them (Bryant & Lirel, 2012). In addition, they can also go through under the feeling of embarrassment and humiliation (Villanueva, 2016). While in a study of Richards and Marcum (2015), they point out that the victims may have a tendency to deny the incident happened to them because they feel that they are the one who are entitled for what happened. After the sexual assault happened to a victim, he/she may experience anxiety, confusion, and panic (Doerner & Lab 2015). Moerover, Neumann (2010) believes that if these continued to happen, it can result to depression and traumatisation. Doerner and Lab (2015) discusses that a victim can go through post-traumatic stress disorder or sometimes called rape trauma syndrome where a victim can have flashbacks about the incident. For the same reason, the victims can develop fear and terror with the things, people, or places that remind them with what happened. Similar on what happened to a Filipino male student who is now intimidated with teachers because of the harassment he experienced made by his male teacher (Agoncillo, 2016).
Like in a report made by Alave (2011), a seventeen year-old girl has developed fear with going to church because a parish priest, Father Raul Cabonce, has sexual harassed her inside the church. These was supported by the study of Nuemann (2010) that explains that if the crime was committed inside a house, the victim may not be comfortable staying in his/her house and the same case if it happened in a particular place. A victim may experience problems regarding his/her physical being. As supported in a study of Daigle, L. & Muftic, L. (2015), it discusses the possible consequences a victim can experience after being sexually assaulted. First, a victim can undergo self-harm. The victims inflict physical harm on themselves because they see it as the only way in coping up with the painful feelings. Self-harm cannot be considered as a sign for suicide, but it can be an indication that a person has survived a serious trauma. Second, there is a high risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease. Lastly, pregnancy is a potential result from rape. Just like in the case of Allan Amaro, who repeatedly raped his 4 daughters, ages 15, 13, 10, and 5, which the 13 and 10-year-old victims became pregnant (Mier, 2017).
Sexual violence can leave conflicts on a survivor concerning with his/her emotional and psychological being, experiencing uneasiness, and having physical effects on a survivor. A victim needs a huge help and support to overcome these consequences. There are laws in the Philippines that aids victims of sexual assault like the Republic Act 8505 which gives them protection with the help of the “Rape Crisis Centre” that are located in every city and province which helps the survivor to file charges against their rapists. In addition, the Women’s Centre temporarily gives a shelter and medical help to the victims (Villanueva, 2016). In the other hand, an observation of Tracy (2012) suggests that therapy can help a victim like Exposure therapy where they repeatedly remind a victim of what happened until she gets used to it or loses the trauma he/she is suffering from.
Whereas in the Stress Inoculation therapy where it prepares the victim if she/she will have a sudden flashbacks. Another recommended therapy is the Ange Cognitive Processing therapy where victims suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder are treated. By the same token, a group of women like the Gabriela are known in giving programs like these and providing these care and support (Villanueva, 2016). When someone has been through with something because of sexual harassment, he/she deserves to be treated with the deepest compassion, enormous support, and special care.
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