I lived an ordinary life just like most people. I fell in love with a man whom I trusted with all my life. Our marriage was blissful in the beginning, but after a few years, the affection became indifferent. We focused ourselves on our kids, their school, our occupation, and other activities. We became an ordinary married couple trying to build a family and live a typical life.
Pedophilia has never been a favorite topic because it is such a horror to even think about it – to see a child as an object of sexual desire is such a disgust! However, this unfathomable deed is slowly creeping out into the light, making people aware and somehow prepare for it!
The unwelcomed sexual conduct of any physical, visual, and verbal approach is considered harassment. It is a pervasive situation where it puts the victim into a hostile environment. It allows predators to take advantage of their prey by any means or form of abuse if necessary.
There are many types of abuse a person can suffer from in their life — emotional, physical, sexual, and psychological — to name just a few of the more common ones,” according to psychologist John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
Three Parts Of Sexual Abuse
Visual – Visuals of sexual abuse include pictures, videos, drawings, texts, emails, and posters of any kind related to nudity and pornography. It is often an effective way to manipulate the victim through wanting to have sexual relations. Sometimes, the visual representation of an attempt for sexual intentions usually gets away due to variable definitions. The images, text messages, and videos are somehow considered as an art, content without malice, and documentary files.
Verbal – It is a category of sexual abuse that focuses on the person’s body, clothing, and appearance. Sometimes, it can be sexual or gender-based remarks or jokes. In some unfortunate instances, it could be a blunt request of sexual interaction, spreading rumors about someone else’s sexual life, and a constant blab about obscene or foul language. Most predators are recognizable due to their persistent sexual innuendos such as cat-calling and over-closeness. Sometimes they even resort to threats or sexual extortion.
Physical – Sexual assault relates to physical movement through inappropriate touching on the sensitive areas of the victim’s body. These include rubbing, hugging, groping, kissing, stroking, leering or staring, and any sexual gesturing. It is the most obvious form of sexual harassment that can unquestionably lead to the attempt of indulging a sexual abuse.
When Should You React?
Sexual harassment doesn’t limit its victim on age, ethnicity, gender, or race. All people are capable of harassing someone, and all of them can also become a victim. It becomes standardized when any type of remarks, physical interaction, and visual representation puts a person in an uncomfortable feeling.
A person who experiences sexual abuse shouldn’t have to wait for a “go signal” before he or she reacts. “Under no circumstances should you pretend to like unwanted advances,” suggests Joni E. Johnston, Psy.D. It is essential to understand that when the harassment is subsequently going on, there’s a need for an immediate confrontation. However, some scenarios won’t support all the claim of the victim, and sometimes it can even turn the situation around. That’s the reason why some people ignore the signs of sexual abuse.
The psychology of sexual harassment and abuse is a broad topic. However, due to the lack of information, policy, and punishment, it is often ignored. When there is a complete act of lewdness, people usually let it slip away and never complain about it. Sometimes it is due to fear to the harasser, judgment from other people, and ignorance of the situation that hinders them to react. However, those reasons shouldn’t have to mean a thing. Victims must learn to understand the different types of this sexual harassment and abuse so they can confidently do something about it. It’s understandable that some cases will be unavoidable, but it doesn’t mean that the situation is uncontrollable. Sexual abuse is something that people would never dream of experiencing. As what Marty Klein, Ph.D., a certified sex therapist and a licensed psychotherapist said, “Walking away is optional, and certainly acceptable.”
It is not uncommon for party venues to turn into a den of date rape drug victims and ignorance to the whole scheme often results in an individual falling into the rape trap.
Date rape is the term for the nonconsensual sexual act done by someone who is socially acquainted or even romantically involved with the victim. According to Dr. Karyl McBride, “Date and marital rape are very psychologically damaging because they impact a trusting relationship and cause the victim to blame him or herself for being involved with that offender in the first place.”
Date Rape Drugs and Their Effects
Date rape drugs are known to lower a person’s inhibitions or defenses so that he or she becomes helplessly susceptible to sexual assaults. There are many types of drugs used for date rape but the most well known are Rohypnol, GHB, or gamma hydroxybutyric acid and Ketamine.
These drugs, often referred to as ‘club drugs,’ come in liquid, tablet or powder forms and are usually slipped into someone’s drinks. The effects are felt in 15 to 30 minutes, some almost immediately, after ingestion.
A victim will usually start feeling drunk despite having consumed little alcohol, and then disorientation will set in, leaving the person confused, dizzy and unable to concentrate. The victim also suffers from memory loss, unable to remember the incident. Some drugs are also known to increase sensuality and can cause difficulty in breathing, hallucinations, nausea, slow heart rate, high blood or low blood pressure, numbness, blackouts, convulsions, and seizures. Date rape drugs, when infused in alcoholic drinks, can potentially be life-threatening due to having a strong anesthetic effect. If these drugs are given at higher dosages, it can actually lead to coma or worse, death.
Better Be Paranoid Than Sorry
So the question is, how can you avoid falling victim to such a heinous scheme?
Discerning if a drink or food offered to you is spiked with a drug commonly used for date rape will be a difficult task since these drugs are often colorless and some do not have any distinguishable smell or taste.
“Along similar lines, avoid taking substances (including drinks) from a person that you do not know,” says Lauren Brande, MA.
Trusting someone you know comes naturally to most people so accepting anything they offer at a social event may be easy. It is advisable, however, to take precaution and turn down anything that is proffered. It will be safer if you get the beverage or food yourself. Should it be necessary for someone else to prepare the drink such as a bartender, you should keep a keen eye during the process. Never leave your drink or food unattended. If you happen to neglect a drink or food even for a short period of time, it is best to dispose of it.
Avoid binge drinking as well. Too much alcohol intake can also put you at risk of being a victim of sexual abuse.
Don’t Panic, Get Help
If you happen to start feeling any of the known effects of date rape drugs, inform a friend or someone you fully trust about the situation immediately and ask to be taken home or to a hospital in case you suffer from severe repercussions. If you are alone, call someone – a relative or a close friend – and tell them your location. It is also advisable that you contact the designated emergency line or number in your area and seek help.
If a friend or companion happens to be the one to show signs of being drugged, do not leave them alone. Call the emergency hotline or bring her or him to the closest hospital and seek medical attention.
Always take precautions and attend events or gatherings with a friend or a relative or a group of people you trust. If you are at a club or any other party venue filled mostly with strangers, it is best to be mindful of the people around you. Do not be a date rape victim. Learn to read situations and remain on constant alert.
“Talking to others in similar situations can be a tremendous source of support,” noted Amy Bellows, Ph.D.
Once upon a time, you’ve met this man who has offered you the world, has treated you like a princess so you’ve fallen in love, have gotten married, and not long after, you find yourself a prisoner in your own home. Sounds cliché but the bitter fact is that this isn’t an uncommon situation. It happens in real life, not just in movies or television dramas or tragic novels.
This is one of the many faces of domestic violence and unfortunately, it is not usually considered a criminal behavior. There is still a possibility, however, that emotional, psychological, and even financial abuse may result in unlawful assault.
Why Psychological Abuse Happens
If you are trapped in an abusive and oppressive relationship, you may start asking why this is happening to you and why your husband is doing it. “It’s a sad reminder that what starts out with intimacy and love can become ugly and tragic,” according to Joni E Johnston Psy.D.
Jealousy and mistrust are the common triggers but the root cause varies and is often psychological. “In relationships, it’s normal for people to experience some amount of jealousy. However, abusers mistake the feeling of jealousy as a sign of love, which strengthens their acts of excessive possessiveness,” says Brook Sprowl, LCSW. Some men may have low self-esteem or are wrapped within a great deal of insecurity that they fear their wives might realize they are unworthy and might leave them so they use manipulation and threats as their shield and weapon.
Some are probably haunted by a traumatic experience in the past that causes fear of rejection or abandonment. It is also possible that some men are victims of abuse themselves and their actions are a reflection of how they have been treated.
How to Recognize Psychological Abuse
Early signs may include doubt or mistrust. Your partner may start asking you for details of what you have done for the day, where you have gone or who you have been with. Then threats and intimidation come right after where your partner may start requiring you to ask permission whenever you leave the house or may even demand you to stay at home. It won’t be long before you will be literally locked inside your house and will be isolated from everyone, even from friends and relatives.
There are different manifestations of psychological and emotional abuse. Name-calling or emotional bullying, throwing insults, threatening, humiliating, mocking, isolating and ignoring the person are some of the signs that abuse is present. This doesn’t only happen between married couples or two people in a relationship. It can also arise between parent or caregiver and child, between siblings, friends or acquaintances, between a teacher and a student.
What to Do
Once you recognize the signs and they are aimed at you, seek help and inform someone. You may also try to confront your abuser but you have to be extremely cautious, especially when you have no knowledge whether the person is mentally unstable or not.
Oftentimes, abuse only worsens if you allow it. “It can be extremely difficult for a victim of domestic violence to acknowledge that abuse is taking place, especially when it’s not physical abuse but rather emotional or psychological,” says psychiatrist Toby D. Goldsmith, MD. If you inevitably sink knee-deep further into a rabbit hole of this abusive process and find yourself in a situation where you’re stripped off of freedom, don’t give up. Be mindful of any window of opportunity to escape from your prison and when you find it, flee. Some abusers still allow their partners access outside their home under their watchful eyes. This may provide a chance for you to break free.
If you find yourself at the center of psychological or emotional abuse, never think that you deserve it. No one does. Do not blame yourself either. It is not and shouldn’t be your fault. Saying you have to be strong may be easier said than done but that is what you need to do to take control of your life once more.
If you think that only women fall victim to the heinous crime of rape, then you are sorely wrong. Men, mostly teens and young adults, likewise suffer from various levels of sexual violation. “It is important for advanced practice nurses and other clinicians to be aware of indicators of rape and sexual abuse in men and to be able to detect them,” says Jennifer C. Yeager, MSc and Joshua Fogel, PhD.
Majority of the male rape victims belong to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. A homosexual male is targeted by another man most especially if he is effeminate or has feminine features or is ‘too pretty’ for the offender. In most cases, male offenders may claim that they are not homosexual and may internally justify their aggressive behavior as a display of masculinity.
Sadly, sexual assault on men isn’t an isolated incident or an unusual situation. In a survey done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of lesbians, gay and bisexual victims of sexual-related crime are equal or even higher than similar incidents involving heterosexuals.
Trusting the Wrong Person
There are several rape cases where offenders, usually when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, are acquaintances of the male victims. Some of these male victims are in intimate relationship with their aggressors.
In a report done by the Williams Institute’s School of Law about the research on intimate relationship violence (IPV) and sexual abuse among LGBT people, a study provides an approximated 26.9% of gay men who were victims of IPV in their lifetimes.
It is a daunting thought that a person you unconditionally trust can do something so horrific.
Gang Rape and Group Rape
It is not a foreign concept for a man to find himself in the middle of a gang or group rape. A fraternity may be a potential stage for such scenario where a new member or a neophyte may be forced to have sexual intercourse with several older members of the group as part of an initiation process. In some circumstances, it may not involve any form of initiation but rather an act of discrimination against a homosexual or bisexual member of the group.
Prison is another probable setting for this sexual-related crime. In fact, there have been reported cases of gang rape in jail over the years. One of the factors that may drive men to commit such a vicious act is psychological. Being locked up with limited access to the outside world and having no means to release sexual tension can increase stress levels that may drive a person mad. It is also undeniable that a prison is a lair full of individuals with psychological disorders.
Discrimination and Hate Crime
Not all sexual violations involve forced intercourse or penetration. “Sexual harassment is really not about sex. It’s about power and aggression and manipulation. It’s an abuse of power problem,” says James Campbell Quick, PhD, a professor of leadership and management at the University of Texas at Arlington. Men may also be victims of verbal assault, sexual harassment, physical violence and psychological coercion to perform other sexual acts such as oral sex. Discrimination may be the cause for perpetrators to violate homosexual or bisexual men. This is often billed as a hate crime, and it happens to about 4 out of 10 men who are identified to be part of the LGBT group.
It is not easy for a man to admit, much more to go public or to report to authorities, that he had been sexually violated. Shame and self-doubt are natural reactions that may plague him and prevent him from taking necessary steps.
In a gender-focused hierarchy, men are likely expected to be the aggressors. Being victims may leave them confused and afraid of how other people may view them. They may be overwhelmed with fear that reporting the crime committed against them may lead to exposure of their sexual orientation if they have not come out of the metaphorical closet just yet.
Sexual crime against men is no different than the same criminal act done on women. They deserve the same assistance offered to women who have been sexually assaulted. If you are a man and you have been a victim of sexual abuse, you need to reach out to the authorities, or anyone you deem may be able to help. “Even if you have no interest in filing a lawsuit, it’s often a good idea to talk to an employment attorney,” says forensic psychologist Joni E Johnston Psy.D.
Sexual harassment is a serious criminal offense that can put the accused employee or the employer in court. Thousands of coercive incidences happen each year, especially in job settings, yet only a few become legal cases. “There is a pattern to close ranks, admit nothing and blame the victim,” says C. Brady Wilson, PhD, a psychologist in Scottsdale, Arizona, who specializes in sexual harassment and workplace trauma.
Indeed, it isn’t entirely due to lack of access to authorities since social media, and police hotlines are available now. A lot of the sufferers can’t come forward because they are not sure if they have just been violated or not. According to John M. Grohol, Psy.D., “The most important thing a person needs to realize if they are the victim of sexual abuse is that it is not your fault.”
You see, the thing about sexual harassment is that it’s more of like an umbrella term. Although a colleague trying to make a pass on you is the generic depiction of it, it’s still coercion if the person leaves derogatory comments or won’t give you peace in the office.
Read on to see other scenarios that point to sexual harassment.
The society has gone a long way regarding identifying an abused person from the crowd. There are facilities and support groups now too that offer care and guidance to the victims while they’re recovering from the ordeal. Such facility is https://milwaukieurgentcare.com/
One Woman’s Personal Take On Sexual Assault
“Many people who suffer from sexual abuse or sexual assault can also suffer long-term effects from the abuse,” says psychologist John M. Grohol, Psy.D. When we say sexual harassment or abuse, most would always think that there’s a physical connection involved whether that be just words, or touching, or worse, rape. But what about those victims whose assailants just instilled fear in them without doing anything physical? Could that be considered sexual harassment or abuse, too? Or is it just a teenage girl’s imagination gone haywire?
That teenage girl – she’s me. And this is my story.
I don’t know who he is. I don’t even know his name. All my mind remembers is the yellow bike he rode in every one of our encounters and his cropped hair.
Later on, I resolved to put it out of my mind believing that it was just some random nightmarish incident.
Little did I know that nightmare would follow me home.
Just a few months after, I was walking my way home – a 40-yard long grassy stretch from the highway – when I encountered that same yellow bike and that same man. This time, he jacked off in front me, a sinister look on his face all the while saying vulgarities. I ran home as fast as I could, not minding my backpack full of books and talked frantically to my mom. But by the time she went to check things out, he was already gone.
Those two encounters turned into three. And then, they turned into more.
It seemed like he was just waiting in a corner, ready to pounce on me. For three years, he always ended up “victimizing” me – early mornings on my way to school, in the afternoons when I come home, even during noontime breaks on occasions when I decide to go back to my house to get some school things. Nevertheless, only two or three of my neighbors encountered him, and those were limited – only twice or thrice. Furthermore, they didn’t seem to look so fazed out with these encounters like me. So, I resolved to put on a brave face.
However, fear always accompanied my walks towards and from my own house. There were times I’d run those 40 yards as fast as I could, times I’d utter endless prayers in my mind as I ran, and most of the time, I carried something sharp inside my uniform’s pocket.
My fear of this nameless man gripped me so hard that whenever I see someone biking, my heart would frantically hammer inside my chest while my brain would tell me to run away on repeat. It controlled my young life for over three years. “When you are traumatized, you lose control of your life”, says Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D.
It has been over 15 years since. I want to say that I’m over that nightmare, but I’m not. I’m still scared of yellow bikes. I always feel wary of crop-haired strangers by habit. Thankfully, my parents don’t live in the same neighborhood anymore, so visiting them isn’t a problem. According to Sharie Stines, Psy.D., “Healing requires patience, understanding, safety, and validation.”
Years may have passed, but questions about that part of my life remain unanswered. Would it have made a difference if I brought my concerns to the police? Would they take notice of my case even if there was no physical contact involved? Or would they have dismissed it as some baseless worries of a young girl?