Sexual violence refers to the act of trying to indulge one in a sexual act without consent from the other party. This can be achieved through coercion or inducement (use of drugs) or even physical violence. This form of crime is a problem both to developing and developed countries. The crime is mostly perpetrated against the vulnerable members of the society for instance children. It is prudent to note that anyone can be a victim of sexual violence; however, the females come out as the more vulnerable of the victims as opposed to their male counter parts.
Sexual violence is regarded as the most common form of human rights’ violations which is pervasive and traumatic. There are various forms of sexual violence ranging from rape to stalking. According to RAINN’s research 44% of sexual violence victims are minors while 80% of the victims are under the age bracket of 30. In the United States, for instance, a sexual assault crime is reported after every 2 minutes. Therefore, each year there are about 237,868 sexual assault victims. The most worrying trend is that the crimes are committed by people known to the victims whereas only 40% of the incidences are reported to the police. A similar scenario of the statistics is report by the NCVS as well as the UCR in their reports.
NCVS, in an attempt to get accurate data on sexual violence cases, has employed the use of two forms of models. First, there is the use of the optimal design used by the CNSTAT and secondly, they employ the statistics from the public health sector. The estimates from the two models are then used to come up with a comprehensive report on the crime and the victims. The major challenge posed by such reports is the low level of disclosure of the crime. Most of the crimes are unreported thus there is lack of accurate data from the relevant authorities .
As earlier stated, this form of crime can be perpetrated against any member of the society. It is not limited to a specific group of persons. However, most of its victims are children and the female adults who are seen as the most vulnerable members of the society. Perpetrators of this crime may be parents to the victims, acquaintances, intimate partners, caregivers as well as strangers. The major motivators behind sexual violence are believed to be control and power over the victim rather than sexual desire. Some of the reasons this crime is committed include discharging frustration by the perpetrator, assuring the offender of his sexual adequacy and also for achieving sexual gratification. In this research we are going to specifically going to consider sexual violence incidences against the girl child.
Sexual violence can occur in armed conflict situations or even in peaceful circumstances. This crime is highly stigmatized in most societies and mostly occurs in solitude. During the commission of the crime there is lack of consent from the other party. It is also important to note that sexual violence can also occur in marriage. This often occurs when one spouse coerces the other spouse to have sexual intercourse. In times of war, sexual violence has been a major crime committed by the police, the military as well as the civilians as a form of attack on their enemies.
The health consequences associated with this form of crime are serious. It poses serious health problems to the victims which are both long term and or short term. It is also evident that this form of crime leads to mental disorder or trauma and low self-esteem among the victims as well as behavioral changes in them. In children, especially, the crime has severe consequences to them especially if it involves intercourse. The crime can lead to genital disorders, chronic pain in the pelvic area, sexual dysfunction and infertility, among other problems, on the victims. However, the fatal consequences of this form of crime to its victims are unwanted pregnancies, infection with the sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDs and even commission of suicide by the victims. From a social perceptive commission of the crime can cause the victims to engage in substance abuse due to the stigma from members of the society. In case of occurrence of any form of sexual violence the victims are advised to report the matter promptly to the relevant authorities and seek medical attention. They are also advised not to destroy the evidence. For instance, by taking a shower and changing the clothes they were wearing.
Apart from the legal frame work, there are also various initiatives that have been put in place to address this form of crime. Some NGOs have established centers where psychological support is offered to victims. Some have also offered civic education sexual violence to the various members of the society .
Despite the various legal regimes that are in place, the commission of the offence is still on the rise and the figures are alarming each passing day. Therefore, what is the most effective way of dealing with this crime? Most scholars have argued that the various governments should offer counseling programmes to perpetrators since most of them are not mentally stable. The government should also establish psychological support centers for sexual violence victims and also incorporate school based programmes in the curriculum. The medical sector should develop medical – legal departments to help sexual assault victims. Lastly, states should ratify the international laws relating to sexual offences. They should also carry out effective investigations and prosecute the various perpetrators of the crime.
In conclusion, to prevent victims blaming members of the society, they should be educated on the psychological effects stigmatization occasions to the victims and they be encouraged to offer support to the victims instead of condemning them.
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