At least one person is sexually abused in the United States every 68 seconds. The average estimate of sexual abuse victims every year in the United States amounts to 463,634. These statistics give a recurrence of sexual abuse. It happens every day.
There are various laws and justice systems put in place to punish the perpetrator of sexual abuse. Involving a family lawyer will help you through the process and ensure you get justice as a victim. This, however, does not take away the after-effects caused by the abuse to the victim.
Sexual abuse can have adverse effects on the victims. For example, psychological, mental, emotional, and physical effects. These effects are ordinarily not easy to deal with. It gets worse when the victim is blamed for the abuse.
This article addresses the effects caused by victim blaming and how to prevent it.
Effects Of Victim-Blaming A Sexual Abuse Victim
Sexual abuse is often believed to mean rape. Whilst rape may be a form of sexual abuse. There are other forms of sexual abuse. For example, mental abuse, verbal abuse, and physical abuse. A victim may experience sexual abuse through any of these forms and be blamed for it.
Victim blaming in a sexual abuse situation occurs when the victim is blamed for the abuse instead of the perpetrator. The victim is made to seem to be the cause of the sexual abuse.
Victim blaming has a lot of effects on the victim. Victim blaming as much as it might be done with a pure motive marginalizes the victim. It is the wrong way to go about a sexual abuse situation.
Some of the effects of victim blaming on the victim include:
- Inability To Report The Abuse
When a victim of sexual abuse is blamed, it becomes difficult for them to speak up about the abuse. The victim will rather feel safe enduring the abuse rather being comfortable speaking up. This is because they know that society will blame them for the abuse and no help would come from speaking up.
Most perpetrators give the excuse it is the victim’s fault. Victim blaming encourages the perpetrators to continue to sexually abuse others. This causes more damage than good.
The act of sexual abuse itself causes the victim to suffer from emotional distress. When victim blaming occurs it adds to the emotional trauma and may cause a victim to go into depression.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Victim blaming is traumatic and traumatic situations lead to anxiety. Victims who are blamed for sexual abuse may experience PTSD and intense fear. This makes it difficult for them to live a life without sudden fear thereby altering their normal life.
- Abuse Of Substances And Alcohol
Some victims resort to excessive intake of alcohol and illegal substances as a coping mechanism. This is because these substances give temporary relief. This may result in doing more harm to the victim’s health.
- Dissociation From Friends And Family
Victim blaming can be interpreted to the victim as betrayal from people. This makes them dissociate from people, especially friends, and family. They tend to hide away from people for fear of being blamed. This could result in feelings of isolation and depression.
- Delayed Healing For The Victim
Victim blaming can delay the victim from seeking help and healing from the trauma. This is because the victim sees everyone as someone that wants to blame them for the abuse. This makes it difficult for them to trust their healing with anyone.
Prevention Of Victim Blaming
Sexual abuse is never a victim’s fault. No human being deserves to be assaulted by another. That is why it is regarded as a crime in almost every country in the world including the United States.
It has been established there are various adverse effects of victim blaming on the victim. The following are ways to prevent victim blaming:
- Be Mindful Of Degrading And Objectifying Statements Against Victims
It is important not to use languages that degrade the victim. This helps the victim’s self-esteem and gives them the boldness to speak up. This also helps the victim to understand the abuse was not their fault.
- You Must Be A Voice Shunning Sexual Abuse And Rape
This means you must speak against and caution anyone that trivializes sexual abuse. If you hear someone making jokes and trivializing rape, ensure to speak out.
- Take The Victims Seriously And Be Supportive
Most victims of sexual abuse tell their friends and family first about the abuse. In a bid to create a safe space for them, ensure to believe them and support them.
- Hold Perpetrators Accountable And Report Them To The Police
This is very important in ensuring sexual abuse and victim blaming are prevented. You must hold the perpetrators accountable by making them face the consequences of their actions. You can ensure this by reporting to the police and other sexual abuse prevention agencies. This helps prevent future crimes.
Some of the tactics of the perpetrators are to blame the abuse on the victims, alcohol, or drugs. The perpetrators can get help from alcohol addiction and still suffer the consequences of assaulting another citizen. Ensure the perpetrators do not get away by making excuses for their actions.
- Provide Immediate Help To The Victim
Instead of blaming the victim, provide immediate medical and emotional help. There might be sexual infections and physical injuries suffered by the victim. Ensure they get medical attention immediately to avoid any more complications.
- Follow Through With The Police In Ensuring The Perpetrator Gets Justice
It is not enough that you report the perpetrator to the police. Ensure to follow through till the end and seek justice for the victim. This can be done by ensuring there are enough evidence and witnesses presented to the police to aid the victim’s case.
Being blamed for something you have no control over can be traumatic. Victims are less likely not to get help to recover from the trauma of sexual abuse. It is very important to avoid victim blaming as much as possible. Sexual abuse is never the fault of the victim but the fault of the perpetrators.