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The impact of sexual assault: Issues in social work

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Sexual Assault

Abstract

Sexual assault is any sexual activity to which you haven't freely given your consent. This includes completed or attempted sex acts that are against your will. Sometimes it can involve a victim who is unable to consent. It also includes abusive sexual contact. It can happen to men, women or children. Most people feel that sexual assault occurs when you don’t know the person but that not so, it can be a friend, family member, or a co-worker. “According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Nearly 1 in 5 (18.3%) women and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) reported experiencing rape at some time in their lives.” “Approximately 1 in 20 women and men (5.6% and 5.3%, respectively) experienced sexual violence other than rape, such as being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, or non-contact unwanted sexual experiences.”

When it comes to sexual assault, most people don’t want to talk about this because they don’t want to re-live that time in their lives. Most people want to push it in the back of their minds as if it didn’t really happen. Being sexual assault can lead to many different feeling causing a person to become physically, emotionally, and mentally disturbed. Women are more likely to be assault than men because most women don’t want to talk about what happen because they are afraid no-one will believe them. Most women don’t report what has happen to the police because they are afraid nothing will happen so they just keep quiet and keep it bottled up inside. Each year in the United States, between 300,000 and 700,000 adult women are estimated to experience sexual assault, with 40,000 of such victims typically seeking treatment in an emergency department (Kwence, Sherri). When a women is sexual assault an start seeking professional help for what she has went through can be hard just trying to move forward from such pain that she has endure.

It is said that sexual abuse is the most common and threatening behavior calculated to induce fear in all women, it means men have chosen to maintain control over women. Rape is the fastest growing crime in the country. Rape occurs in India every twenty minutes (Behere, P.B). In 2011, more than 24 thousand cases were reported-about 70 a day. New figures released by the Delhi Police reveals that a women is raped every 18 minutes or molested every 14 minutes. There are 80, 000 pending rape cases in India and nearly 1,000 rape cases are pending in Delhi courts (Behere, P. B.). In the United States, 1 in 6 women reported experiencing rape or attempted rape at some time in their lives. Being sexual assault can make a women start feeling anger toward men. When someone you know has been sexual assault they must seek professional help so, they can live a healthy life. As a social worker we must help victims who has been harm in any way possible.

The conflicts in which a social worker may face when working with women or men who has been sexual assault. The value of the social worker is to promote resources to help victim who has been mistreated. When a women has been assault it take a lot from her. Once someone take something as precious as sex from you, can make you feel bad about yourself. When you think about sex, it something that should be shared between two people who care about each other. For someone to come and take that away from you can make a person become very bitter at the world? As a social worker we must promote social justice to make sure our client get the best help possible by setting up counseling. We first has to assess the problem at hand and see what really happen and then we can move forward with the problem.

As a social we must not impose on the client right to do what she feel is right for her, we can only try and led them down the right path. Social worker values can’t get in the way when it comes to helping a client get the best help needed. The client have every right to refuse any help at any time. Social worker have to be the voice for those who are not willing to speak and the ear for those who can’t hear what is been said, and the legs to help the client walk that extra mile needed. Not only do sexual assault happen to women but it also happen to men and children. Most people don’t think that men are sexually assault but it happen, but more common in small children because it’s hard for them to fight back. Most men are victim because they choose to be gay or because they are locked up in jail. As a social worker no, matter who is seeking help it is our job to provide the best care needed. When someone has been assaulted by a family member it hard to tell someone especially when you are a small child because they are scared and don’t want to get anyone is trouble so children suffer for a long time from assault because they are afraid to tell because no one will believe them. Children will grow-up feeling ashamed of what happen to them so it will cause them to sexual assault someone. They why it’s important to get the proper help needed when you have been assault. Everyone deserve to live a happy and success life.

Results of this study showed that 66% of the women were aged 15-24 years old and 75% had met the perpetrator before the sexual assault with nearly 50% reporting that the perpetrator was a current or former boyfriend, family member or someone they considered a friend.

Women with no previous contact or knowledge of their perpetrator were more likely to report to the police and were at a higher risk of sustaining an injury, the research showed.

Looking specifically at alcohol, the study found that over 40% of women had consumed more than 5 units of alcohol. These women were more often sexually assaulted by a stranger or someone they met within 24 hours prior to the assault. Furthermore, a physical injury was found in 53% of cases and 33% of the victims had suffered a previous sexual assault (Wiley). In fact, researchers found that college women who experienced severe sexual victimization were three times more likely than their peers to experience severe sexual victimization the following year. RIA researchers followed nearly 1,000 college women, most age 18 to 21, over a five-year period, studying their drinking habits and experiences of severe physical and sexual assault. Severe physical victimization includes assaults with or without a weapon. Severe sexual victimization includes rape and attempted rape, including incapacitated rape, where a victim is too intoxicated from drugs or alcohol to provide consent (University at Buffalo). We don’t realize just how much sexual assault go unreported while in college. No-one should have to experience this kind of abuse while they are trying to learn. It hard trying to learn when sexual assault is going on at a campus sight because you are afraid to walk around at anytime day or night because you don’t know who to trust or who is watching your every move. You have to be aware of your surrounding at all times.

A student, age 24 came into my office just like any other day set down and she had a strange look upon her face. I spoke and said what, I can help you with today. She replied, I was sexual assault at a party which I had attended on Friday with a couple of my friends. My response to her was are you alright and she replied no. She started telling me in details what had happen so I just sat and listen to what she had to say. It was a surprise party for her best friend so it was a lot of people there as you know the usual crowd family, friend, and co-worker. At this part there were loud music, drugs, and lots of alcohol, so we all were having a good time so it was this guy who I’ve known for a long time was there and we started talking, laughing, and dancing. As the night grew old we went back to his place of course I had been drinking and so had he. While we were alone in his place he started hugging, kissing, and touch me and it was making me feel uncomfortable so I asked him to stop and he said you know you want it and I said no but he didn’t pay me no attention and processed to throw me down and force himself upon me. I started screaming saying stop but he didn’t you continue on until he was finish. After he finished he took me home like nothing never happen I was so scared. When I made it to my house I ran upstairs and started to shower because I was feeling so dirty. So could you please help me I am afraid to tell someone what happen because I shouldn’t went there? She replied, I just feel so helpless all I do is just sit in my room and cry it’s driving me crazy. The scene just keep playing over and over in my head. So, I felt that I needed to talk to someone before I go crazy. I don’t want my friends to know what happen to me Friday night. I don’t need no-one judging me because I had too much to drink. I thought I knew this guy that’s why I agreed to go to his place not knowing he had other things own his mind. It goes to show you, can’t trust anyone these days not even a good friend. So, I found myself walking around in a daze and it led me to your office on Monday. Please help me figure out what to do before I beat myself up about what happen.

As a social worker I assure her it wasn’t her fault and I will do everything to help her gain her self-respect back. She didn’t want to go to the police and tell them what had happen because she felt the police wouldn’t believe her because she went to his house on her own and plus she had been drinking. As we were talking, we talked about the negative and positive things that was going on with her. I had to ask some personal question such as did he use protection, do you know if he had any sexually transmitted diseases, or do you think you might be pregnant. She replied, I don’t know. So I advise her to go and get herself checked out and so she did and everything was just fine. Now that’s something you want have to worry about. After the assessment I set her up with a counselor to help her understand that she wasn’t at fault. While in session with the counselor we talk about how she can regain her self-respect back and not let this get the best of her. First just accept what had happen and talk to your family and friends so you don’t have to go through this alone. No-one will judge you because of what happen, right now you need all the support you can get. The more you talk about what happen to you that night is the only way the healing can begin. Later when you regain your strength you can go to the local authority and report him so it want happen to someone else. Always stay involved with people in the community because your story can help safe someone else someday. Remember to always hold your head up high and don’t let negative talk get you down because you survive. You have to start setting goal in your life to help you get back on the right track. We can’t change the facts about what happen or the feeling you have. The only thing we can do is just help you begin to heal. At the end of the long session she was able to deal with her feeling and regain her self-respect.

As a social worker we have to get involved with families, groups and organization or communities to help promote social justice when dealing with people. As a social worker we must be equipped with the skills and knowledge to be able to better serve clients. As a social worker we play many roles in people lives for example: negotiate, mediate, advocate, broker, and educator. As a social worker, in the work, that we do go a long way in helping client achieve their goal weather they are short term or long term we have to do whatever it take to make sure our clients are treated with the up-most respect.

When a social worker deal with someone who has been assault they have to deal with outsider also and it can make it hard on the victim. Because the victim have to re-live the whole thing all over again so many time they just sit back and deal with the problem the best way they know how by just leashing out at the world for no reason. Being the victim trying to pick up the piece and move forward can be one of the hardest things to do because they feel as if they have the weight of the world on their shoulder. They just have to be strong and not show anyone what’s really going on inside. According to The Canadian Press (2014), the most common reasons for not reporting were shame and embarrassment, fear of the offender and lack of confidence in the justice system. While 53 per cent of participants stated that they were not confident in the police, two-thirds stated that they were not confident in the court process and in the criminal justice system in general," the study says. Participants cited ongoing, long-term effects of being attacked, including depression, difficulties with trust and forming relationships, and anxiety, fear and stress. The women described a number of means of coping with effects of the trauma, both positive (such as reading, exercising, and writing in a journal) and negative (drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm, suicide attempts).The women suggested that survivors of sexual violence become informed about the criminal justice system, and know that help is available for victims and that legal proceedings can take a long time. The best way of sharing this information is through school programs and counsellors, they said (Canadian Press).

There are many form of sexual assault it’s all around you just have to sit back and watch and see what is going on in people lives. Looking at the women and men in the military we don’t look at them as being victim but in reality they are victim. They are putting their lives on the line every day for us and look at what is happening to them. In the serves its their policy to not tell what happens in the field but look at how many lives are been ruin because of the way men are treating women or because of the way men or treating men. No-one deserve to be treated that way. The sergeant are up holding the men in their wrong doing telling them it ok what they are doing because no-one will never find out. No-one want to be label as a snitch because they will lose all their right and benefit and no-one will be able to provide care for their families. The men and women just have to live with this until they have a break-down in their lives and break the bond and tell what has happen to them while they were out fighting for their country. No man or women should have to feel in shame for what happen while they were serving their country. Yes there need to be stronger sentence for people who commit these type of crimes. In the U.S. Military academies, 5% of women report surviving rape every year, as do 2.4% of the men,for women abused as children, 92% of perpetrators were men, of those men who enter the Navy, 15% are perpetrators prior to their service, 28% of women in the military experienced rape during their military service. Of those women who men rape in the military, 96% of the perpetrators are U.S. military men (Sadler, Booth, & Doebbeling, 2005). No one should have to lose their right because they chose to speak about the truth. Although the truth may hurt a lot of people because being assault in the service will follow you for a long time. Making it hard to truth anyone in authority.

A young male 22 walk in my office and spoke and said he was gang rape and needed some help. We both sit down and I assess him on the nature of the matter of just what happen. He said, they he was walking home from a party and a group of guys pulled him into the car and drove him down a dark back road and that’s where the assault occurred. It was three guy that he recalled pulled him into the car. He said, he was scared for his life. What made the guys pull you into the car? He replied, I was dress in women clothes and when they got to the place and realize, I wasn’t a women it made them mad. To teach me a lesson the guys place a drink bottle into my rectum and begin to push with all their might. That wasn’t good enough each of the guys took turn and place there penis inside. I never imagine anything like that happening to me. I was afraid for my life they left me there to die. I was screaming but no one could hear me because we were on a dark lonely road. The counselor assured me that it wasn’t my fault and that I had nothing to be ashamed of. The counselor advice the young man to go to the doctor so he can get himself checked out. While at the hospital the police officer pulled up on the scene and gather some background information on what had happen. The guy went into detail and told the officer what happen. The counselor ask the young man would he be interested in seeking professional help and he replied yes. The counselor made come called and got him place in outpatient care. The counselor ask him some personal question. He said, as you know I am a man trapped into a woman body. The counselor asked are you sexually active and he replied no I am not. Did they use any type of protection you use protection he replied, I don’t know. The counselor said make sure you get yourself checked for sexually transmitted disease. The counselor reassured him that it was not his fault that he didn’t do anything wrong. In order for you to heal you will need to get set up in individual counselling and group therapy. You must be willing to talk with family and friends and let them know what you are going through. You must learn to let your feeling out and get involved in positive things and start setting goal in your live to help you get back on the right track. Talk to family and friend because they want judge you because at this point in your life you need all the support you can get. The counselor let him know that this wouldn’t be an easy journey. After all he went through time will heal all wounds. No-one can take the pain away after all the therapy, he did gain his self-respect.

In conclusion I provide insight on sexual assault and how it effect people in many ways. Most people don’t like talking about sexual assault because it makes them feel dirty and ashamed, but they must realize it wasn’t their fault. As a social worker it is our job to help reassure the victims that everything will be alright. If you know of anyone that has been sexual assault my advice is to please get the proper help so you don’t have to live in fear. The healing only start when you are ready to tell your story.

Reference

Behere PB, Sathyanarayana Rao TS, Mulmule AN. (2013). “Sexual abuse in women with special

reference to children: Barriers, boundaries and beyond. Indian J Psychiatry 2013;55316.

www.candianapress.

Denmark, F., & Paludi, M.A. (2010).Victims of Sexual and Abuse: Resources for Individuals

and Families. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger.

Kirst-Ashman, K.K., & Hull, G.H., jr. (2012). Understanding Generalist Practice (7th ed.).

Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Sanderson, C. (2004). The Seduction of Children: Empowering Parents and Teachers to Protect

Children from Child Sexual Abuse. London:

Sherri, K. (2012). Encountering the Victim of Sexual Assault. Clinician Reviews.

University of Buffalo. (2014, September 5). Past sexual assault triples risk of future assault for

college women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 17, 2014 from

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140905152947.htm

Wiley. (2014, October15). Risk factors for sexual assault identified, including age, alcohol

ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 17, 2014 from

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141015092243.htm


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