Sexual Assault

Chapter Nine: Sexual Assault

Background

Defining Rape

Multiple definitions

May be a discrepancy between the legal definition and common definition

Definition used by this textbook-an unwanted act of oral, vaginal, or anal penetration committed though the use of force, threat of force, or when incapacitated

Benchmark Study: National Violence Against Women Survey (National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control, 1998)

1 in 6 (17%) women and 1 in 33 (3%) men have experienced an attempted or completed rape (in the United States)

The Scope of the Problem

Underreporting

Other studies report 15-33% of women and 10-15% of men experienced an attempted or completed rape (in the United States)

3 out of 5 sexual assault victims stated the offender was an intimate, relative, friend, or acquaintance which leads to underreporting

Sexual abuse of children under the age of 12 is rarely reported

The Unique Situation of Sexual Abuse/Rape Survivors

Crises resulting from sexual abuse and rape differ in nature, intensity, and extent from other forms of crisis

The Dynamics of Rape

Social/Cultural Factors

Four different factors:

Gender inequality

Pornography

Social disorganization

Legitimization of violence

Historically, the crime of rape has been seen as:

A crime against the woman’s father or her husband

Psychosocial means by which the victors in wars reward themselves and humiliate their opponents

The Dynamics of Rape Cont.

Personal and Psychological Factors of Rapists

Acts hostile but often feels weak

Lacks interpersonal skills

May need to exercise power

May show sadistic patters

Sees women as sexual objects

Holds stereotypical and rigid views of males and females

Harbors chronic feelings of anger toward women and seeks to control them

Rape as an exercise in power and control

Four categories of rapists:

Anger

Power exploitative

Power reassurance

Sadistic

Myths About Rape

Rape is just rough sex.

Equating rape and sex is perhaps the most destructive myth of all.

Women “cry rape” to gain revenge.

People do not want to believe that rape really occurs

Serves to focus the blame for sexual violence on victims rather than perpetrators

Easier to believe than knowing rape can happen to anyone

Rape is motivated by lust.

Rapists are psychotic or weird.

Survivors of rape provoked the rape.

Only bad women are raped.

Myths About Rape Cont.

Rape happens only in bad parts of town, at night, or by strangers with weapons.

If the woman does not resist, she must have wanted it.

Males cannot be victims.

Homosexuals are usually the perpetrators of sexual abuse of boys.

Boys are less traumatized than girls.

Boys abused by males will later become homosexual or rapists.

If a person experiences sexual arousal, this means it is not rape.

A female can not rape a male.

Date and Acquaintance Rape

Date Rape Risk

Child sexual abuse is a risk factor for both heightened sexual activity and sexual victimization in dating.

Alcohol and drug use (by both the survivor and the perpetrator) is a risk factor for acquaintance rape.

Preventing Date, Acquaintance, and Other Forms of Rape

Educational programs, especially at the secondary school level, have been recommended as preventive measures in reducing acquaintance rape.

Results show changes are only short-term.

Intervention Strategies for Rape in the Immediate Aftermath

Empathy

Build a Working Alliance

Use Support Systems

Stop Secondary Victimization

Police, medical professionals, significant others

Responses

May exhibit no emotions

May feel humiliated

May suffer immediate and long-term trauma

May blame themselves

May be reluctant to go to the police or rape crisis center

Intervention Strategies for Rape in the Following Three Months

Critical Needs

Continuing medical treatment

Support system (family, friends, work, etc.)

Understanding without pressure regarding further sexual contact

Critical Supports

Understanding mood swings

Ensuring safety without overprotection

Allowing the victim to make decisions regarding reporting the rape

Allowing the victim to talk about the trauma without disclosing the information to others

Recognize that loved ones also exhibit issues

Intervention Strategies for Rape in the Following Three Months Cont.

PTSD

Rape ranks second in the potential for PTSD

EMDR as a first option for treatment

Cognitive-behavioral treatment

Exposure treatment

Affect regulation

Cognitive therapy

Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Psychological Trauma and Sequelae

Effects on Adult Survivors

Higher incidence of:

Depression and anxiety

Borderline personality disorder and Dissociative disorder

PTSD

Social stigmatization and alienation

Somatic complaints

Negative self-image

Revictimization

Early assault is additive

False Memories

Controversial topic

False Memory Syndrome Foundation

“Recovered memory” survey

Intervention Strategies for Adult Survivors

Assessment

Can be difficult to assess and diagnose due to multiple ways it may manifest

Treatment of Adults

Treat in a similar way to PTSD

Grounding

Have the client focus on the therapist and the “here and now”

Ask the client to describe current INTERNAL experiences

Orient the client to the current environment

Use relaxation techniques

Validation

Validate that the trauma did occur even if it is denied by the client’s family

Advocate for the client

Reinforce the resourcefulness of the client

Be a role model to help the client with childhood developmental tasks

Intervention Strategies for Adult Survivors Cont.

Extinguishing Trauma

The reduction or termination of a conditioned response as a result of the absence of the reinforcement

Prolonged Exposure/Cognitive Restructuring

Reframing and relearning feelings

Grief Resolution

Confrontation

Changing behavior through skill building and reconnecting

Support Groups for Adult Survivors

Sexual Abuse in Childhood

Dynamics of Sexual Abuse in Childhood

Dynamics of Sexual Abuse in Families

Intergenerational transmission of sexual abuse

Female abusers

Phases of Child Sexual Abuse

Engagement Phase

Sexual Interaction Phase

Secrecy Phase

Disclosure Phase

Suppression Phase

Survival Phase

Intervention Strategies With Children

Assessment

Therapeutic Options

Play Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral Therapy

Trauma Systems approach

Affirmation and Safety

Regaining a Sense of Control

Education

Assertiveness Training

Prosecuting the Perpetrator

Interviewing the Child

Ensure safety

Collect appropriate evidence

Carl Perkins model

Preparing the Child for Testimony

Education on the process

Role play possible situations

Orientation of the courtroom

Aftermath

Counseling

Placement of the child

Counseling

Group Counseling

Boundary Issues

Group Support Work With Non-offending Parents

Preventing Re-victimization

Individual Counseling

Session 1: Establishing safe ground

Session 2: Introducing traumatic material

Crisis session

Last sessions: Transcending

 
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