Keeping Secrets: Why Do Rape Victims Do It?


Rape is one of the sensitive issues that many women are not comfortable with. A recent study shows that around eighty percent of women do not report the fact that they have been raped or sexually assaulted. “In reality, sexual assaults committed by strangers comprise only a very small percentage. An individual is 73% more likely to be assaulted by someone they know or someone close to them,” says Hung Tran, Psy.D. There are lots of reasons why these individuals prefer to keep the incident all to their selves. In this article, we are going to discuss the top reasons for this sad reality.


  1. They Are Afraid of Rejection.

The rape victims are afraid that if someone finds out about their situations, they will end up being secluded from the public. They are worried that the people close their hearts will not be able to accept what happened to them. Because of this, they would rather keep the secret to continue gaining the affection and respect of those surrounding them.


  1. The Experience Was Traumatic.

Another triggering factor that prevents the victims to report the abuse to the police is because of trauma. These individuals, especially the young ones, usually end up becoming deeply distressed after the disturbing experience that they just encountered. Sometimes, they could not find the right words to express how traumatic the incident was.


  1. They Want to Avoid Chaos.

There are also women who are afraid that once they will talk about rape or sexual assault, everything in their lives will be chaotic. It’s been rough already for these women and pressuring them to share about the experience is already too much. They might not be able to handle it already. As such, these ladies would rather sit in the corner. At the same time, filing cases before the courts can also drag their names in public. Hence, their identities will be known, and it can be embarrassing for them.


  1. They Do Not Trust Anyone.

When it comes to sensitive topics like rape, it becomes crucial for the victims to find the people whom they can trust. Sad to say, most of these women usually end up hating everyone around them. This may lead to the development of mistrust to their close friends or family members. They are afraid that if they would share about the incident, the other person would just ignore it or start unnecessary gossips.


  1. They Are Afraid of Wrong Judgments From People.

Unfortunately, there are still some people who keep on blaming the rape victims for what happened to them. These are the persons why accuse women of wearing too skimpy clothes or acting slutty, which could be the causes of why they were sexually harassed. For this reason, many women choose to keep the sad stories within them. They are afraid that they will be judged because of their behavior before the rape or assault took place. “People with a tendency to self-blame often struggle with overwhelming or otherwise painful and intrusive emotions. The most common emotions and mental states are shame, guilt, and anxiety, but it can also be loneliness, confusion, lack of motivation, aimlessness, paralysis, overwhelm, or constant alertness,” according to Darius Cikanavicius, a psychological consultant and a certified life coach.


If you know someone who has been raped, the best thing to do about the situation is simply to be there for her. Try to stay by her side, until she can get over the negative experience. Most importantly, do not force her to talk about the incident. Give her enough time to think about things. “Surviving and overcoming sexual assault can be a difficult and slow journey and may take time. Healing may not happen overnight. It may be hard to begin trusting others again or regain a sense of safety. Remember that you do not have to do this alone,” according to Hung Tran, Psy.D.