By Mansi S. Mehta:
Editor’s note: Youth Ki Awaaz joins hands with the NalandaWay Foundation, founded by Sriram Iyer, to help break the silence around mental health, failure and suicide. Through Iyer’s book, “The Story Of A Suicide”, we’ll be talking about dealing with depression, loneliness, rejection, stress and various other issues that affect many of us, today. You can read the book here.
Rape and other forms of sexual violence are, unfortunately, something that people avoid discussing. Most people don’t even want to consider the possibility of it happening to them. But let’s face it, in a country like ours, especially at a time like this, when sexual crimes are on the rise, people should not only speak up but also learn how to respond to it, cope with the trauma and the aftermath if ever confronted with rape.
Rape survivors experience fear, disbelief, anger, hurt and a sense of betrayal. Most survivors sense a feeling that life had been changed forever and wonder whether they can ever cope. Remember that rape is the rapist’s fault, not the survivor’s. Coping with rape might be really hard but it is the survivor, who can help herself deal with it better.
Here are some things to keep in mind while dealing with such a situation.
1. First, if you find yourself anywhere close to a situation like this, make sure you try to escape from the rapist and go to a safer location.
2. Keep all evidence intact. This will help you in lodging a police complaint and take legal action.
3. Call a local law enforcement agency, rape crisis center or victim’s rights group. A volunteer can take you to the hospital at once.
4. Get a medical exam done. This is important if you decide to press charges.
5. Choose to take drugs to prevent pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted diseases at your discretion.
6. Once you have a doctor or police officer’s approval, go home, shower and rest.
7. Allow family and friends to give you support and help you.
8. Seek counselling from a therapist or family doctor for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
9. Play your part in fighting against rape culture. Preventing potential rapes also depends on educating people about rape and taking a stand against it.
10. Reach out and help other survivors cope better.
1. Don’t blame yourself. There is nothing to be ashamed about.
2. Don’t think that it was your fault: no one has the right to rape or assault anyone in any way.
3. Don’t ever stop living your life. It can be overwhelming, but you can’t stay afraid forever.
4. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that it is your fault.
5. Don’t keep it to yourself. It is not something you should go through alone.
6. Don’t hesitate to seek help; friends, family, police, counsellors or the law.
If you are a rape survivor, don’t be harsh on yourself. It is your body and if this precious gift is being taken beyond your will, it is absolutely nasty, ghastly and unfair. But at the same time, remember this incident doesn’t have to take everything out of you and shut you down forever.
If you have ever faced such experiences or seen someone you love go through it, do share with us, because it is time to turn the tables around. Also, for all you know, you may be helping someone out there, cope a lot better.
This post on dealing with sexual violence has been slightly edited and was originally published here.