Global Impact of Sexual Violence
When individuals commit acts of sexual violence, their actions are often motivated by their underlying gender identity or sexual orientation. This is often referred to as “corrective rapes,” performed to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender expression to conform to heterosexual or gender-accepting norms. People who identify as asexual are especially vulnerable to such attacks. While there are many contributing factors, research indicates that each has an additive effect on a victim’s risk of becoming a victim of sexual violence.
Psychological effects of sexual violence can include depression, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Survivors of sexual violence may experience intrusive memories, mood swings, and feelings of numbness. They may also experience a heightened sense of shame, fear, or numbness. Many survivors may also feel guilty or shame, and may even want to isolate themselves from others. These reactions can lead to an unhealthy emotional state that will eventually interfere with one’s ability to function and enjoy life.
Victims of sexual violence may also experience other emotional reactions, including anger and self-blame. The impact on a community can be profound. Fear and anger are common reactions, and sexual violence destroys trust and safety in a community. In addition to the direct impact on a victim’s health, sexual violence also imposes significant costs on employers. Not only do survivors’ health and productivity suffer, but their companies also face the financial and reputational damage of sexual violence.
The perpetrator must be able to coerce the victim into engaging in a penetrative sex act. A perpetrator may overpower the victim, ignore verbal resistance, or hold the victim down in order to penetrate. Sexual assault may also involve threats, physical force, or even the use of a weapon against the victim. When it comes to establishing whether a victim has consent, it is important to remember that the definitions of sexual violence differ from state to state.
Data on sexual violence is a key component to assessing its global impact. Most of the available data come from police and clinical settings. Nongovernmental organizations also report their data on sexual violence. The data available are often incomplete and prone to bias. While most data sources are reliable, they often fail to reflect the entire scope of the problem. A small portion of sexual violence is reported to police, but there are large sections of the problem that are not.
In some cases, the perpetrator may be able to hide their actions. In such cases, the victim may have no physical injuries to show that he or she was sexually assaulted. Despite this, the victim may question whether she is capable of stopping the violence. The offender may use threats, weapons, or coercive actions, or the victim may be unconscious or incapacitated. Further, the victim may have lied about the assault, resulting in a false report. The number of false reports of sexual violence is surprisingly low, and the amount is comparable to other crimes in Canada.
It’s important to seek help if you’ve been a victim of sexual violence. There are a variety of organisations and support services to help victims and survivors deal with this terrible situation. For support, you can take a support person to the police station to document the assault. Additionally, you can write down all the details of the assault so that you can later report it to the police. If you feel comfortable enough, call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) for free 24-hour counselling.