YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been raped and your world has come crashing down. People who have never been through it cannot understand the gravity of the trauma that you are going through. Your whole world changed from the moment of your experience and you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what to do. Mwereti Kanjo speaks to a psychologist and a rape victim, on how to get over the ordeal.
When Grace (not her real name) was still a teenager, she went out one night. Her destination: a Christmas bash at the lake. She was drinking and laughing and, of course, she was dressed to kill. On one occasion, she danced with strangers, but that did not bother her because she thought she was safe.
After a number of drinks, Grace had to relieve her bladder and she went behind one of the buildings near the beach. Little did she know that one of the guys she had danced with earlier was following her. As she knelt down with her pants dropped to her knees, he came from behind and raped her. Her screams were no good in the loud music and excitement of the crowd. From that moment, her life changed.
Now 25 years old, seven years since it happened, Grace is still afraid of being touched by men. She is afraid of being left alone with any guy. In a nutshell, she has problems trusting people.
She hopes and longs for the day when she will be able to love and enjoy the company of a guy. Like many other girls, she is trapped in a world of sorrow and fear and does not know what to do.
If rape is not properly dealt with, long-term consequences may be even harder to get over. While other women are afraid to love and be touched by other men, some will do the exact opposite and become sex addicts.
Professor in psychology, Chiwoza Bandawe, says the process of healing from the trauma of being raped varies with each individual. However, he says talking about it is one of the best ways of healing. According to him, while talking, you go through the event and redefine it. This is because some victims may take on the blame for being raped.
Bandawe further advises to express immediate feelings to someone close as well as thinking positive. This might help bring in closure.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“For someone who has been raped, usually there is feeling of anger, sense of shock, distrust of the world because rape is a violation of the person, an aggressive one for that matter. Apart from physical hurt, the person has been damaged emotionally as well as psychologically. They also have a sense of feeling dirty, that fact that someone did this to you makes you feel worthless.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The victim will distrust other men because this is a gender-based act of violation. Being close to a man might remind the victim of the ordeal that they went through. On the other hand, those that become addicts or prostitutes are trying to gain control over the act. It is important that everything is brought out in the open because bottling it up makes it worse,Ã¢â‚¬Â Bandawe explains.
Rape is traumatic for the victims and sometimes it may just feel like you will never get over it. Your whole world turns upside down and the emotions that follow are not so easy to get past. Rapists have a way of making you believe that it is your fault, for wearing a short dress, being too friendly or showing the wrong signals but remember that this is not reason enough;Ã‚Â no one deserves to be raped.