12 December 2014
When discussing sexual assault or rape, people often overlook the effects and aftermath of the situation, especially non-physical effects. Those of us who have the privilege of receiving public education are taught about the importance of consent-getting someone’s permission before touching their body-in sexual education classes, or maybe we are taught by our parents or other guardians. Regardless of how we are taught, we all learn that it is wrong to touch other people when we are told “no”. However, we hardly ever take the time to consider that there are more lasting effects of sexual assault than making someone ...view middle of the document...
Non-cancerous tumors may form in the wall of the uterus. Sexual intercourse may be painful for rape survivors in the future; women can experience a condition that causes involuntary vaginal muscles spasms which make any form of vaginal penetration including sexual intercourse, insertion of tampons, and the penetration involved in gynecological examinations-extremely painful or impossible (Collett, Cordle, Stewart, and Jagger).
Women may become pregnant as a result of rape. Current researchers generally agree that pregnancy is as likely to occur from rape as it is from consensual sexual intercourse. Some studies suggest rape may actually result in higher rates of pregnancy than consensual intercourse, because rapists are more likely to target young, fertile women (Gottschall). Approximately 25,000 to 32,000 women become pregnant from rape in the United States each year. Studies in 1987 and 2005 and a three-year longitudinal study by physician Melissa Holmes concluded that pregnancy occurs in 3 to 5 percent of victims of rape. The low estimated percentage of pregnancies related to rape may be due to the fact that rape is under-reported, resulting in pregnancies from rape not being recorded as such. There are often complications during and after rape-related pregnancies that are potentially dangerous to both the mother and the child. Women who become pregnant from rape face the decision of putting the conceived child up for adoption, having an abortion, or raising the child. The traumatic effect of rape may cause women who choose to raise their children after becoming pregnant from rape to have difficulty accepting their children. Giving Birth to a Rapist’s Child, an article in Georgetown Law Journal, acknowledges the lack of laws to help the women who choose to raise their rape-conceived children:
Without such laws, in most states, a man who fathers through rape has the same custody and visitation privileges to that child as does any other father. As a result… raped women and their children are left to face substantial and potentially terrible consequences…The absence of these laws stems from the societal images… that depict raped women as hating their unborn children and viewing their rape pregnancies as continuing their rape experience. These societal constructions have created a biased ‘prototype’ of the pregnant raped woman and of the prototypical rape pregnancy experience by which all pregnant raped women are judged. Women who raise their rape-conceived children depart from the prototype and are, as a result, viewed with suspicion (Prewitt).
Between 32.3 and 64 percent of women who become pregnant through rape choose to raise the child they conceive; however, social stigma towards raped women and children conceived of rape may affect women’s decision of whether to raise their rape-conceived children or to have an abortion or put the child up for adoption.
It is estimated that one in fifteen rape victims will contract an STD from...