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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Rape: Therapy Options for Victims

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If you have never been a victim of rape, it might be tough for you to imagine how life is for rape victims trying to achieve recovery. It no doubts is challenging for people who have been sexually assaulted to get back to their daily lives as it were, before their assault experience. However, it is the duty of the people around, to see how best they can help these victims recover.

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Before you can think of assisting a victim of rape, you first have to be trustworthy enough for them to open up to you. Coming out to tell a rape story is one challenging thing for victims especially because of the fear of being judged, blamed, or getting hurt further by the culprit who might be a close person.

However, when a victim can take up the courage to make a report to the police or a close relative, the question is what next? In trying to help a victim a lot of people make the mistake of worsening the situation by expecting them to heal faster than they should.

Understanding that humans respond differently to life experiences is the start point if at all you intend helping a rape victim. Understand that no two persons can heal at the same rate and no two persons handle the situation similarly so allow them to take their time, don’t be in a hurry.

A lot of victims heal from rape without therapy however in some cases it is because they do not have access to treatment so they have to improve gradually on their own which I must say is a very brave Journey for them to embark on. However, it is not uncommon for rape victims to seek help from therapy in recent times most rape therapy techniques have been studied in rape treatment for many years.

Therapy for rape victims could include group therapy one-on-one therapy and even pharmacotherapy. The kind of rape therapy that would be used for a particular victim’s treatment primarily depends on the victims’ experience and response. However, the most common types of rape therapies are

  1. Supportive counselling
  2. Prolonged exposure therapy
  3. Stress inoculation therapy
  4. Eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR)
  5. Cognitive process therapy

The prolonged exposure therapy, stress inoculation therapy, and cognitive process therapy are all categorised under cognitive behaviour therapy.

The primary focus of most treatment for rape victims is to eliminate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder because PTSD is an inevitable condition that a sufferer would experience if trauma from the assaults lingers for a long time. Types of treatment and therapy for rape

1. Stress inoculation rape therapy

The stress inoculation therapy was explicitly designed to treat those with anxiety and fear as well as victims with specific avoidance behaviour ( like those who are free to walk alone in the dark). The stress inoculation rape therapy is done in three distinct phases; the education, school building, and application phases.

Education phase: this phase is designed to explain to the victims that fear is a reasonable response to trauma, and also to tell them the things that may trigger such fear and anxiety such as places that remind them of the scene of the rape or things that remind them of the culprit.

Skill building: the skill-building face is to teach rape victims how to control the affairs psychologically and physically. This phase applies the use of cognitive behavioural techniques like guided self-talk and thought to stop mental rehearsal.

Application: this final phase requires a victim to use their newly acquired skills to engage in healthy behaviours. They are also thought to stop criticising themselves and award themselves for their healing progress.

this method of therapy has proven to be very useful in preventing future symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in rape victims

2. Prolong exposure rape therapy

The flooding therapy also called the prolonged exposure rape therapy is a technique used to desensitise a victim to rape trauma by repeatedly exposing them two things that remind them of the traumatic occurrence.

In the flooding, method victims instructed to repeatedly recount their rape and face life’s challenges that tell them of their rape.

Meetings I even need to listen to tape recording sessions talking about their rape incidence. This method may come across as very harsh, but it has been discovered to help prevent symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and stop victims from feeling guilty and anxious.

3. Cognitive processing therapy

Cognitive processing therapy was designed to help people suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. This particular retreatment uses three necessary steps the education skill acquisition and their application steps.

This technique requires victims to associate with things that remind them of the rape incident and condition their minds to fight off guilt, fear, and trauma. This therapy method has also proved to help prevent future cases of PTSD in victims.

4. Eye movement desensitisation reprocessing

The Eye movement desensitisation reprocessing was designed originally to help survivors of trauma. the EMBR uses a combination of the cognitive processing therapy and prolong exposure rape therapy.

During a session, the rape victim is instructed to recount their rape events while focusing on eye contact with a moving physical object like a finger of the therapist.

It is believed that focusing on whatever moving object the therapist decides to use will help in. The victim to reprocess the information of the event they are narrating.

The EMDR is arguably the least used technique of rape therapy because a lot of people feel that the hand movement or movement of any other physical object is unnecessary.

5. Support counselling rape therapy

The support counselling group therapy is the most used as it has been adopted by many rape crisis  support intervention centres. In this case, the therapist is expected to offer every kind of support possible by listening to the stories of victims and be a shoulder for them to cry on.

This method of therapy is very effective immediately after a traumatic place, but in the long run, it might not be as effective as the cognitive behavioural therapy options.

When it comes to paying for rick therapy, some countries have a support facility that allows you to make a police report and apply for treatment with the payments covered by the government however in places where such is not made available victims might have to spend a reasonable amount of money to get their therapy done.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

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