Sexual assault is when a person is intentionally touched in a sexual manner without full consent. The term “sexual assault” covers a wide range of uncalled for sexual behaviours that are used by offenders in order to generate a sense of control and power over the victim. The topic is still quite taboo in conservative countries like India. However, it is important that people learn about the frequency of these events, and understand that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. It is imperative that we, as a collective, raise our voices against this and be vocal.
Types of Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is just an umbrella term for many different vicious acts.
Rape: unwanted and forced sexual actions or intercourse.
Indecent assault: unwanted touching of someone’s body, which can include kissing or inappropriate touching of one’s privates.
Child sexual abuse: creating a sexual threat over a child or someone younger that includes asserting power and control over them.
Effect on the victims
Being assaulted can change your life and your thoughts forever. It can change the places one visits, the way they dress, and most importantly the way they feel about themselves.
These effects can be condensed down into emotional and physical effects. After the sexual assault, the victim will usually go through phases of:
- Self blame
- Social anxiety
- A strong desire to fix the problem
- Mood swings and more
The physical effects are not always visible but vary from situation to situation. Some get bruises from being forced into acts. Some people are also less inclined to report their physical traumas due to shame. Also, because of the stress and the mental/emotional anguish, the victims report frequent and painful headaches.
You can read more about the effect of sexual assault on the victims here: http://www.joyfulheartfoundation.org/
Preventing Sexual Abuse
Usually, sexual abuse cases occur in one’s home or near their homes. There are many things that can be done to avoid being in this situation.
- One of the first and most important things is to JUST SAY NO. It is never the victim’s fault but saying no is also part of the problem. In a situation when someone is forcing onto you sexually, it is hard to process things and know what to do or say. But, saying no is very important because it makes it concrete that you did not give your consent, and it was done to you against your will.
- If you think someone is following you, change direction and go somewhere, you will be surrounded by people. Usually, this tames down the perpetrator’s intentions and might give them a chance to rethink their decision because of the fear of being seen doing something terrible.
- Be aware of your surroundings. When you enter an unfamiliar place, make sure you know where the exits are, when the toilets are and how far away the nearest source of transport is. Always have your mobile phone on you and never leave your purse of belongings anywhere. Make sure to go places with someone, even if it is to the bathroom. All of these should be done regardless of the fear of sexual harassment.
In conclusion, sexual assault is a serious deal that needs to be brought into the spotlight. People shy away from talking about their experiences, but this should not be the case. Talk to someone if you need to, but don’t suffer alone. Sexual abuse has a significant effect on everything from that point onwards, so be careful.