Most rape victims never have their cases see the light of day because the society around them never allows them to. With such, rape, unfortunately, becomes downplayed, at the most extremes becomes normalized and the culture sticks. This not only further aggravates the victims who happen to be mostly women and girls but inadvertently protects the perpetrator.
The rape culture is almost becoming a ‘thing’ unlike years ago? The answers lie on what anyone gives as their first response and action whenever a rape incident is reported either directly or indirectly.
According to Psychology Today, most victims end up being blamed for being raped. The common environment in which most rape incidents occur is always either at deserted or confined spaces, where the predator has more power than the victim and is likely to get away unnoticed. This could be because some rapists eliminate any trail just in case the victim happens to be the one in a million that reports to the authorities. Other times the perpetrator never cleans up any proof because they simply take advantage of the slow response system as is the case with many developing countries.
Should a young get defiled by an obviously more mature male, questions such as what she was doing with the perpetrator come up. Other questions such as why they were walking alone in the dark as is the case of being raped at night- are as well strangely common. While these questions, maybe important in legal proceedings, they don’t take away the fact that rape occurred. This is what is referred to as trivializing rape.
More power and attention is awarded to the ‘pre-rape’ occurrences that the heinous act of rape itself loses the seriousness it should be carried with. At this point, the victim, may not stand the questioning and is likely to withdraw regretting why they even reported the case in the first place.
Other aspects that have led to the gradually growing rape culture include extreme criticism especially towards women and girls who have been raped, refusal to identify the violence caused as a result as well as unintended glorification of the perpetrator especially if they are men who are known to be of good moral standing.
On the latter, religious leaders have countlessly been accused of defiling children. Priests in the Catholic Church, for instance, have long been even charged for the same. Leaders in other religions and denominations have as well been busted on the act but few are charged in a court of law. By the virtue of being anointed crusaders of war on immorality, the cases are ruled out as false accusations. This fuels the cycle of young girls and boys being defiled by their religious teachers and leaders and such goes on unsuspected, unreported and, untold for as long the rapists wish.
Women and girls make up the biggest number of reported rape cases. Globally, it is reported that the United States leads in the number of rape cases each year while in Africa, South Africa takes the lead.
According to the South African Medical Research Council, South Africa has an estimated 500,000 rape cases every year. This includes both male and female victims. In countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Sudan, rape case are equally high and counting due to the close link between rape and gender-based violence.
Most rape victims in the mentioned countries are likely to have at some point repeatedly faced a physical attack prior to the rape in which the rapist is known to them in some way.
The 2010 Kenya National Survey on children violence, powered by UNICEF, indicated that during childhood, 32% of females and 18% of males in Kenya experience sexual violence. “Sexual attacks in Kenya are a serious problem”, read part of the report which also listed girlfriends/boyfriends, romantic partners, neighbours, parents and other relatives as common perpetrators.
Most female rape cases are of school-going girls who are too scared to report to the family for assistance in getting medical care or at least reporting the crime to the relevant authorities for quick action. It has also been reported that the police are at times slow at arresting the suspected perpetrator or if arrested, they are let go for lack of sufficient proof.
While most victims will suffer the trauma of the mostly forceful incident, others go on to nurse the wounds while being pregnant from the rape. A considerable number of these victims run for unsafe abortions as part of coping with the sexual attack and die while on it.
Others, due to lack of professional help and a solid support system, from family and friends-eventually commit suicide. A very small number relentlessly seeks justice either through courts of law or through organized revenge attacks to the perpetrator.