You know that sex crimes are rampant nowadays. A scene of how an employee is sexually assaulted and how teens are forced into prostitution is no longer new to you. Whenever you browse your social media accounts, news about sex crimes, sometimes being too inhumane is always present. You’ve concluded that regardless of anybody’s social standing and educational attainment, they can become victims of such hideous crimes – and the news you’re hearing are evident that this notion is a fact already. You’re merely looking at the situation at hand in a macro level perspective, but have you taken the time to empathize with the victims involved in sex crimes? If you’re already uneasy and bothered of what you’re seeing right now, can you imagine the fear and trauma the victims are experiencing?
Sex crimes should not be tolerated in any way. Yes, the assault might happen once, but that single incident can haunt the victim’s life for a lifetime. To drive the point home, here are the real reasons why sex crimes are devastating to victims:
- Victims can experience depression: After the sex crime happens, victims can experience many emotional and psychological reactions. One of the most common of these is depression. When a victim is depressed, he/she feels too often even without a valid reason. Feelings of unworthiness becomes the focal point of his/her life that he/she can no longer function as an individual.
Human beings can feel depressed at times but prolong series of depression are devastating. Symptoms of depression may include:
- Indifference and pessimism;
- Loss of energy and interest in activities which were enjoyed before;
- Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells;
- Significant change in weight, appetite or sleeping patterns; and
- Thoughts of death and suicide.
Depression can affect victims no matter how old or young they are or what their religion is. Depression is not a sign of weakness among victims, but you should never ask victims to “snap out of it” because doing that is never easy. Some victims might have even attempted to fight depression but to no avail.
- Victims can experience flashbacks: Of course, victims will try to forget all of the details involved in the sex crimes but no matter how hard they try; achieving such goal can become a struggle. In the victims’ eyes, memories of past trauma pertaining to the sex crime would feel that it’s taking place in the current moment. They might be reminded of the crime through their dreams, body sensations and emotions.
While some flashbacks are mild and brief, which can only happen for a few minutes, some are powerful and can distract a victim for longer periods. There are also times when a victim may not realize that he/she is already having flashbacks, and will immediately feel faint or dissociate.
- Victims can experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a typical human reaction whenever a person has been able to experience (and witness) an extreme or abnormal situation. Every victim has a different threshold for what they perceive as PTSD, but this is not a rare occurrence; it’s normal to experience PTSD especially when the sex crimes are involved. A victim might experience PTSD when he/she has these symptoms for at least a month:
- Experienced distressing flashback of the sex crime;
- Regularly avoided things which trigger or remind the victims of the event;
- Shown significant distress because of the event; and
- Shown symptoms of intense fear, helpless and horror over time.
- Victims might get pregnant: When a victim was raped or had consensual sex, it can lead to pregnancy. This can become a problem, especially if the woman does not have the resources to bear and take care of a child. On the other side of the coin, women who were victims of sex crimes can also be at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. The most common STDs women can acquire from sex crimes are:
- Genital Herpes;
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV);
What’s tricky about STDs is that victims can never determine they’re infected with such an illness unless they see a doctor right away. STDs don’t have any signs and symptoms so victims might think they’re safe when actually, they’re not. If left untreated, an STD can become the reason why victims’ health will deteriorate over time and die from organ complications.
- Suicide: When the sex crimes brought too much pain emotionally and physically to the victim, he/she might end up committing suicide. This is true especially for young people who never consider talking about their problems to others when they feel like no one around them can understand what they’re going through. When they feel they have no one to turn to, or if they feel as if they’re a helpless case and nothing can be done for their lives to be back on track, they can consider to commit suicide as an “easy way out.” Victims who feel like they’re also burdening their families because of the treatments and therapies they’re going through after the sex crimes might also consider committing suicide.
Telling you that sex crimes are dangerous is an understatement. One simple unsolicited sexual act can scar a victim for life. It can become the reason why victims will feel isolated from their relationships, underperform at work and can no longer meet responsibilities at home. If you know someone who’s a victim of sex crimes, show empathy at all times. Support them in any way you can because although they might look okay on the outside, you don’t know the battles they’re going through because of sex crimes.
When you report sex crimes, the possibility of getting discriminated at work is high. If this happens, you can click here to know what to do when taking legal actions.
Anne McGee has over 20 years of experience writing about legal subjects where she hopes her knowledge can help the common reader understand law topics that may be of relevance to their daily lives. If she’s not reading a good book, then chances are Anne is jogging during her free time.