May 18, 2017

The Effects of Rape

When one is raped, several things are immediately bound to run through the person’s head. They begin to question themselves like if it is their fault or what they did to bring such an occurrence on themselves. They begin to ponder what they could have done to prevent such an event being brought upon them in the first place, so they can prevent this traumatic experience from scarring their mind. It will forever haunt them knowing that another human was capable of forcing such an act on them. After the experience, the victim is left with effects such as personal, social and emotional pain and trauma. In the novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and in modern sources, the authors explore how rape affects different areas of life.


In the novel and in the article “An Angry Cry for Mute Voices” by Laura Kaminker, people are affected by rape that results in leaving the victims left in silence and refusing to speak, also known as mutism. In the article, a woman explains her thoughts about the aftermath of rape for some girls when she says, “women who think they are justified in blaming themselves; women whose families don’t believe them, whos husbands reject them. I thought of young girls who are forced to see their attackers everyday and never tell another soul;” (Kaminker 1). This source shows how women feel that they can never tell anyone if they are raped whether it is because they are afraid, ashamed, or whatever the reason might be. In the novel Melinda is faced with her attacker again after the first assault when she says, “Why cant I scream, say something, do anything? Why am I so afraid?” (Anderson 161). This quote in particular shows how Melinda cannot speak up for herself and is so afraid to say something in the presence of the one who raped her. In her case she doesn’t even know why she cannot get any words out. Along with Melinda, most of those who go mute do not even know why they do. They are just so internally afraid and confused, they do not fully understand what is going on.

It is shown in both sources, the novel and the article “Association Between Experiencing Rape, Police Reporting, And Self-Reported Health Among Women Visiting Three Gynecology Clinics In Sweden" by Johanna Davidsson, that being raped can result in ones mental/ physical health to be negatively and dangerously impacted. In the article the writer discusses how those who are raped have poorer health conditions, and states  “As could be expected, exposure to combinations of severe abuse (i.e. rape and/or severe physical and/or severe emotional abuse) was even stronger associated to poor self-reported health”. This quote tells how the health rates of rape victims lowered after they were raped. This is because rape has the ability to cause victims to lose the desire to take care of oneself along with developing bad habits that harms oneself over time. Melinda tells how she injures herself physically when she says, “My throat burns… my lip bleeds” (Anderson 5). Also from the novel, “[Melinda’s] throat squeezes shut, as if two hands of black finger nails are clamped around my windpipe” (Anderson 28). Those quotes show Melinda hurts herself physically by biting her lips, and mentally when she envisions hands wrapping around her throat. This habit of hers is a way of inflicting pain on oneself as she does it so vigorously that it causes her lips to bleed. Furthermore, the amount of mental stress and harm it puts on the victim, causes them to experience long durations of enormous stress on the mind, which can lead to many more psychological issues, such as anxiety or depression. The effects that rape has on the individual not only negatively impacts on both a mental and physical aspect, but can also leas to more severe issues in the future as well.

Education also plummets as well in rape victims as shown in the novel and in the article, “Retrieval-Induced Forgetting After Trauma: A Study With Victims Of Sexual Assault” by Tim Brennen. In the article the academic ability levels of rape victims was explored when the author stated, “A study is reported where this automatic form of forgetting was investigated in a group of sexual-assault victims and a control group” (Brennen 1). This quote tells how the assault victims’ ability to memorize things had decreased, expressing how rape can throw off ones everyday ability to do things like recall and remember simple things. This further shows that the rape can also hinder other aspects as well, such as communication and simple logic, which are both vital in order to succeed in educational fields. In the novel, Melinda’s report card is shown in this text, “MY REPORT CARD Attitude D, Social Studies D, Spanish C-, Lunch C, Biology B, Algebra C-, Clothes C-, English C-, Gym C-“ (Anderson 92). As one can see, Melinda’s grades plummeted severely after the occurrence of her rape. Her participation and attitude also dropped as well, as one of the effects of rape is isolation and being more withdrawn as mentioned before. This impacts her education as it was also mentioned in the previous statement that talking and taking part of class is not only a class requirement, but also a building block to succeed in school. This occurrence gets in the way of ones every day life and in this case end up not even being able to focus on studies.


It is clearly shown how much rape can affect ones life. Being raped is not just physically torture. It tortures ones mind and in the end the victim has the ability to hurt their self more than the rapist possibly could. Being forced in to such a horrible act can put a completely horrifying toll on ones life. It can make one rethink their life decisions and what they did to bring such an act upon themselves. But what one will conclude to realize, is that there is nothing they could have done to stop that from happening. What one is wearing, or how he or she chooses to look is no excuse or reason to rape. Everyone is free to express themselves however they choose to, and if one tries to use what they were wearing or something along those lines against them, that reasoning is completely invalid and absurd. Rape is not anyone’s fault but the attackers. That is what most victims fail to recognize, and is also one of, if not the most, important thing to remember.



Works Cited

Kaminker, Laura. “An angry cry for mute voices.” Newsweek 16 Nov. 1992: 16.
     Middle Search Plus. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

DAVIDSSON, JOHANNA, et al. "Association Between Experiencing Rape, Police Reporting, And Self-Reported Health Among Women Visiting Three Gynecology Clinics In Sweden." Acta Obstetricia Et Gynecologica Scandinavica 88.9 (2009): 1000-1005. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

Blix, Ines, and Tim Brennen. "Retrieval-Induced Forgetting After Trauma: A Study With Victims Of Sexual Assault." Cognition & Emotion 26.2 (2012): 321-331. Business Source Elite. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

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