We must raise awareness to the psychological effects of sexual assault and domestic violence in America or things will never change.
Written for The Arbiter.
America needs to adapt cultural responsibility. We must raise awareness to the psychological effects of sexual assault and domestic violence in America or things will never change.
The U.S. Department of Justice reports that more than 17 percent of women and 3 percent of men have experienced sexual assault during their lifetime; 25 percent of women and 7 percent of men said they “experienced violence from an intimate partner.” It is hard to understand the psychological effects of sexual assault and domestic violence until you have experienced it yourself.
But society should try its best to understand for the sake of those who are victims and to bring awareness to the issue in hopes of prevention.
My insight was provided by Boise State University’s Coalition Against the Abuse of Women (BSUCAAW) and their play, “V-Day Boise State 2012.” The play shared stories from people who had been sexually and/or domestically assaulted. The plays flier read, “Raw voices of fierceness and honesty (about) the deep connection between women in prison and the violence that often brings them there.”
Experiencing sexual violence changes a person’s life forever. According to Danielle Lyon, a junior studying theater and BSUCAAW member, the psychological effects of sexual assault can be felt immediately and all throughout life.
“The very first thing they are going to go through is shame and guilt, right away they will think they caused and it’s their fault. They will later experience sadness, loneliness and anger,” Lyon said.
We can recognize sexual assault if a person is unusually angry, vulnerable, feeling hopeless or show changes in their daily habits and routines for no reason. These emotions and actions can linger in a victim’s heart for days, months, years and even a lifetime. Domestic violence is a mental cage for victims and a physical and metaphorical entrapment of the soul.
Some domestic violence survivors feel obligated to their perpetrator for financial, social or domestic stability. After the play, one domestic survivor explained, the daily beating and ridicule from her aggressor motivated her departure. But she couldn’t leave her relationship because of the dilemma caused by choosing between her kids or her health—choosing between having a dysfunctional family or none at all.
The U.S. Department of Justice predicts 4.5 million physical assaults against women and 2.9 million cases of violence against men will be committed by an intimate partner within the next year—clearly there is a need to change the way our culture operates.
If we are not aware of the psychological effects of sexual assault and domestic violence, there is no way to stop it from continuing. Get involved and be aware. It just might help prevent further acts of assault. America needs adapt cultural responsibility. We must raise awareness to the psychological effects of sexual assault and domestic violence in America or things are never going to change.
-Thanks again for reading, Bryce Dunham-Zemberi