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Understanding the Distressing Path and Aftermath of Sexual Coercion and Betrayal

Rape is an ugly word. What thoughts, feelings or images come to mind? The image it conjures up in our minds is that of a stranger lurking in the shadows, an intruder in the darkness, a predator who violently assaults, and forcefully penetrates his victim sexually. Yet this is but one form of rape and not the most common.  Rape actually takes a number of forms such as:

  • Date rape is a brutal betrayal that can occur on the first date or any thereafter. It is what the name implies, a prearranged social outing where the perpetrator sexually assaults his date by coercion, force or by taking advantage of the date’s condition as in the case of intoxication.
  • Acquaintance rape, similar to date rape, often occurs at a party setting or in a situation or ‘set up’ by an acquaintance or ‘friend.’ The acquaintance is not a date but someone who commits sexual assault as previously described.
  • Partner or Spousal rape is what it implies.
  • Child Rape occurs in many degrees and perverted varieties.
  • Senior rape and sexual abuse occurs in nursing homes, etc.

But the most prevalent form of rape in both society, and the church is Boyfriend Rape. Because it is something much more subtle than what we normally think of as rape, this form of assault often goes unrecognized and is regularly dismissed. Boyfriend rape often doesn’t feel like rape, especially to the victim and her family. Despite the fact that many of its victims feel that they were forced, coerced or intimidated into performing or participating in some form of sexual act, they deny being raped.

Why, because what happened doesn’t fit the stereotype of ‘rape’ in their minds. Doesn’t the fact that they’d chosen to be with the perpetrator make them at least feel partially at fault? The confusion increases when victims mistake their own temptations or desire for intimacy as contributing to the rape. Combined with this is the lack of validation by parents, peers and others which only add to the victim’s internal confusion. The result is a silent scream of shame, intensified by feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and abandonment, and the emotional pain of their conflicted experience. Often this cry goes unheard and unheeded in spite of obvious changes in the one who screams, crying out for validation and understanding.

The National Crime Victimization Survey, 2001 showed that 73% of women who had been legally raped didn’t believe they had been raped. Over one-third did not discuss the incident with anyone; only 5% reported it to the police. The same study found that 44% of male college students reported some likelihood of “forcing a female to do something sexual she didn’t want to,” if they thought they could get away with it. At least1 in 4 female college students will be victims of rape or attempted rape. And these statistics are old and very low as compared to today.

The focus of what follows is intended to help both the victim, and her family understand the devastating effects of the Boyfriend Rape experience. Because of the nature of the offense my treatise is admittedly gender biased.This is not in any way to minimize the many sexual assaults that occur against boys and men. Click above or The Silent Scream to read whole article .

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