(By survivor, conqueror Phumelela Malaza)
A few minutes of sexual gratification for the perpetrator leads to a lifetime of torment for survivors or victims of sexual assault…
- Ever wonder what life is like for a victim after they have been sexually violated?
- Ever wondered how severe the impact might be or how they cope after the ordeal?
The reality is: Perpetrators give victims a life sentence, a burden to live with the trauma and memories throughout their lives.
We all cope differently
While rape or sexual assault has become a norm in society, survivors can often face extremely difficult, painful emotions and experiences.
Every survivor responds to this traumatic event in their own unique way. The effects of the trauma can be short-term or long term. The personal style, culture and context of the survivors’ life may affect these reactions.
Some express their emotions while others prefer to keep their feelings inside. Some may tell others right away what happened, others will wait weeks, months, or even years before discussing their assault, if they ever choose to do so.
It is important to respect each person’s choice and style of coping with this traumatic event. It takes courage for a victim or survivor to reach a point where they ultimately report or discuss their assault.
Perpetrators ‘live amongst us’
Many of these perpetrators live amongst us. Many are actually our family members.
Isn’t it tragic how in many cases perpetrators are supported, defended, protected and hardly reported to law enforcement officials?
While survivors are expected to prove that they were assaulted beyond reasonable doubt; first to their family member’s or close friends, then to SAPS and finally to the court system.
Even after being victimised by perpetrators, they are then exposed to secondary victimisation from the minute they speak out and disclose that they were assaulted and then still deal with the healing process.
How often do we give survivors the level of support that they actually need?
While family members may even encourage them to keep the matter a secret or buried because it would “destroy the family”.
Corrupt law enforcement officials encourage victims to reconcile with perpetrators at police stations even before cases are opened because “they are family”. In some instances of corruption, SAPS officials may have gone as far as withdrawing cases at police stations.
Court systems are also not victim-centred. The focus is more on what you can prove rather than what happened, and the truth.
Capitalism is also at play within the court systems, because a lot of perpetrators walk free on the basis and size of their pockets. Thus it has become very easy to manipulate processes and the system at regional courts.
You are not alone #BeyondThePain there is hope, and you can become a beacon of hope to other victims/survivors.
We are encouraging members of society to also participate.
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