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Overcoming Sexual Harassment: You Are Stronger Than You Think

Dr. B.S. Arora 90% (111 ratings)
DNB, DPM, MBBS
Psychiatrist, Delhi  •  24 years experience
Overcoming Sexual Harassment: You Are Stronger Than You Think

In India, crimes against women have been on the rise; they might have always happened at the same rate but today's media have become more attentive towards these crimes by bringing them to the forefront. Recently, the devastating news of an Assamese higher secondary student being raped and killed has surfaced. Her floating decomposed body was not discovered until 4th of May when the incident itself occurred on 28th of April. If a rape victim dies, it is the most unfortunate consequence that the parents and the loved ones have to live with but there are numerous victims who survive and they can lead a normal life with guidance and care. Any occurrence of sexual assault not only leaves scars on the outside but also have deeper psychological and emotional effects. The emotional scars can manifest in the form of post-traumatic disorder, depression and suicidal tendencies. If you know anyone who has undergone such an experience, then read on to find out how you can help her get back to her life.

  • Medical Examination: Physical effects of rape can be adverse on the victim. Forced sexual assault causes bruising, wounds and vaginal bleeding and immediate medical attention is required to ensure safety. Subsequent medical tests should also be carried out to check for Urinary Tract infection, Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and uterine fibroids.
  • Therapy: Wounds of the flesh heal, but it takes a lot of time to recover from emotional damage and in some cases the survivors bear the burden of psychological scars all through their lives. They may see the incident as an assault to their souls and develop depression, post-traumatic disorder, borderline personality disorder, sleeping and eating disorder. The loved ones have to be understanding and be patient with them. One-on-one therapy or group therapy sessions can be very helpful. Talking about their emotions and resolving issues of anger, regret, pain, fear, guilt in a friendly, supported and understanding environment can help them reconstruct their self-image.
  • Counseling: Guilt and shame are two most common stigmas that most survivors have to deal with. They somehow blame themselves for the incident and regret any step they think that might have led to the incident. They become so consumed by the incident that they think the experience defines them, instead of their persona which is called dissociative identity disorder. In such cases counseling sessions can prove to be very beneficial. They need guidance to understand the situation and separate themselves from the incident. The survivors may feel weak and victimized, overpowered and violated; they may also think that they have lost control of their bodies. Counseling can assist to resolve such issues and help them empower themselves with time.

It is important to make the survivors realize that it is not the end of their lives. With a positive attitude, proper rehabilitation and counseling rape survivors can lead a normal, happy life.

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