Imagine getting a root canal without thenumbing aid of Novocain. This still could not live up to theeternal pain felt by women who are living in the aftermath ofRape. And understandably, most women who are survivors ofrape will note it as one of the most horrific experiences of theirlives.
Despite theamount of time that has passed since the rape occurred, thememories of the event continue to haunt its victims. Thesurvivor's way of life is not the only thing affected theirself worth, the way they view and interact with men, and they oftenfeel guilty about becoming a victim of such a heinouscrime.
Accordingto the National Black Women's Health Project and the DC Rape
CrisisCenter one woman is raped every two minutes, and attempt at rapeoccurs every three minutes. Black women are more prone to beingvictims of sexual assault – approximately 40 percent have hada coercive sexual experience before the age of 18. Thesaddest part of these situations is that 80 percent of rape victimsand survivors are assaulted by people they have come to know andlove – husbands, boyfriends, fathers, stepfathers, and moreoften that not the live in boyfriends of themothers.
Accordingto the Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center 12.1 millionwomen have been raped, at a rate of 700,000 a year. Moreover,college students are definitely not left out of the loop. One inevery 4 of these victims is a college student. Last October, EllaMcQueen*, a HowardUniversity student in the School of Business, felt like a piece of her soul was rippedfrom her chest.
She wasreturning from a date with a platonic friend when he tried topersuade her to have sex with him. She protested, but herdrunk mate refused to take "no" for an answer. Heproceeded to rape McQueen as her cries for help went unheard. "I felt like I was screaming so loud that the windows weregoing to break," said a misty eyed McQueen in a recentinterview. After trying to fight off such a brutal attack,she just began to sob uncontrollably. When she finally broke awayall she could do was run as fast as possible, all the wayhome. "I must have just sat in the shower for at leasttwo hours, just crying and scrubbing, I just wanted to get hissmell off of my skin." According to the DC Rape CrisisCenter, this is one of the crucial moments of recovery. Victims do not need to be left alone because this may result infeelings of guilt or embarrassment. They need to report the crimeto the police or, at the very least, a friend.
Whenanother student in the shower heard her crying she lied and statedshe had just lost a family member. "It took me a whilebefore I finally hit my ground zero and could not take it anymore," said McQueen.
"Ifinally called my sister at Georgetown, and just broke down and told hereverything. My sister became my strength." However, life became an uphill battle form that point on. Feelings of guilt began to set in and McQueen had a hard timeblaming anyone but herself. "I did not want to have himarrested," McQueen stated adamantly. "I was soafraid about what people would think aboutme."
The justicesystem did nothing to ease her mind. Her assaulter received asentence of just 15 years with a possibility of parole after seven."I was repulsed even more when I was told he would notreceive more than the standard sentence. I felt there shouldhave been more – there just had to be," saidMcQueen. "I have to live with this feeling the rest ofmy life.
He only hasto feel guilty for seven years – if he even feels guilty atall."
In order toassist rape survivors, society must come face to face with the factthat rape is a violent crime – it is not committed out ofpassion or love, just hate. Through penetration, sexualassault, or sodomy the rapist is after control. Familysupport is vital to recovery.
Essentially, it is the key to breaking thesilence that has cursed this crime. If you are a survivor, donot hold back or be fooled into thinking you are strong enough toendure alone. Seek help at a counseling service, a church, afamily member, or a friend. It is the only way to become a survivorand break free.