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Assignment: Women with Past Sexual Assault Essay
Assignment: Women with Past Sexual Assault Essay
Most victims of sexual violence are primarily women, with the vast majority of the perpetrators being males. Statistics and research have continually indicated that in most instances, the perpetrators of sexual violence are individuals who are well known to the victims, often a friend, former intimate partner, or even blood relative. Sexual abuse is among the most widespread forms of public health issues that affect millions of people in the United States (Breiding et al., 2015). There are several ways in which sexual violence can be perpetrated, namely dating violence, intimate partner violence, rape, defilement of a minor, incest, forced sodomy, and unwanted pursuit such as aggravated stalking, among many others (Edwards et al., 2015).
Sexual assault not only causes immediate physical harm to the victims; the act also leads to unwanted long term effects, namely physical, physiological, and emotional trauma. Most victims of sexual assault end up developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental disorders, which end up distorting their future in relation to how they perceive others and life itself (Salcioglu, Urhan, Pirinccioglu & Aydin, 2017). In the discussion regarding sexual assault, it is usually the minority and marginalized persons, as well as any category of people seeking to gain some form of protection (Armstrong, Gleckman-Krut & Johnson, 2018). The marginalized and vulnerable persons in this instance refer to factors based on race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and socioeconomic status, among others. This report seeks to establish the prevalence and incidences of sexual assault as well as the impact that the vice has on the women and the picture it paints as depicts a nation. There are several ways in which the vice that is a sexual assault against women can be addressed, as will be discussed shortly.
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Sexual assault can loosely be defined as unwanted sexual contact or where sexual contact is forcefully inflicted upon a person
who lacks the capacity to give consent, such as a minor or a mentally unstable person. More recently, sexual assault has been broadened to include acts such as female genital mutilation. Research has shown that most victims of sexual assault are often people who are vulnerable or marginalized and minorities within the society (Armstrong, Gleckman-Krut, & Johnson, 2018). Sexual assault can be perpetrated by one person or a group of persons, such as in the case of gang rape.
Additionally, the atrocity can be carried out in a private home or in public spaces such as the workplace, streets, learning institutions, prisons, and parks, among other places. Sexual assault is a significant public health issue affecting many nations around the world. According to the center for disease control and prevention (CDC), at least 19.3% of women have been raped in their lifetime, with around 43.9% of all the women have experienced some form of sexual assault at least once in their lifetimes (Breiding et al., 2015). Most women refrain from seeking help after being victims of sexual assault as a result of shame and stigma that is associated with the act. This means that most perpetrators of sexual violence end up walking scot-free as opposed to facing the full force of the law as is required.
Sexual assault impacts negatively on the lives of the victims and survivors as well as the society and nation from a broader perspective. The most economical impact is felt by the victims and survivors in relation to medical costs as well as the pursuit of criminal justice. Additionally, the productivity of the victims and survivors is significantly reduced as a result of the assault. This is because the survivors of sexual assault usually develop unwanted long term effects not only physically, but also psychologically and emotionally (Basile, 2015). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is among the most common aftermaths of sexual assault and lowers a person’s productivity because it distorts their outlook on other people and life in general. Further, the development of PTSD and other mental disorders means that the sexual assault survivor is on continuous medication, which is accompanied by its associated costs (Loya, 2015).
According to Peterson, DeGue, Florence and Lokey (2017), the society also faces an economic loss when it comes to sexual assault. For instance, the government spends significant amounts of money in law enforcement against the sexual assault perpetrators. Additionally, the society has an influx of incidences such as school dropouts and drug abuse because some of the victims of sexual assault tend to drop out of school because they are unable to focus in school works and engage in drug abuse as a coping mechanism. The survivors of sexual violence are later reported to have lower standards of living as compared to their living standards prior to the incident, probably due to the trauma and other mental disorders that accompany sexual violence, thus rendering them less productive (DeGue, Florence & Lokey, 2017).
Health disparities, discrimination, and socioeconomic disadvantages are among the primary social justice issues that affect the fight against sexual assault amongst the marginalized population and especially women (Dills, Fowler & Payne, 2016). The discrimination that is associated with sexual violence in women makes them refrain from seeking both legal and medical help in the event that they become victims, thus making the perpetrators walk scot-free. The mental disorders that further develop after sexual assault add to the discrimination and stigma for the victims and survivors of sexual assault. Further, a socioeconomic disadvantage is another factor that exposes women to sexual assault.
Poverty exposes most women to activities such as prostitution and sex slavery, which make them vulnerable to sexual assault. Also, in the event of sexual assault, the women are unable to access immediate medical attention because they cannot afford the costs associated with the healthcare requirements. Social justice requires that the government implement certain policies that empower women in the prevention of sexual assault. For instance, sex education should be incorporated into the mandatory school syllabus so as to ensure that women are aware of their rights in relation to their person.
Discussions surrounding sexual violence are usually sensitive and require that ethical issues be considered while tackling such topics. Among the ethical concerns in sexual violence include, but not limited to, confidentiality, safety, and equity. It is common to find caregivers at crossroads when faced with ethical and legal dilemmas in the course of offering help to the victims of sexual assault. The situation becomes even more complicated in the circumstances where the law imposes a legal obligation upon the caregivers, such as mandatory reporting of sexual violence to the law enforcement failure to which they may be liable and face legal sanctions (Jagadeesh et al., 2016). Such a policy gives rise to an ethical and legal dilemma pitting compliance to statutory obligations as opposed to patient autonomy and confidentiality during the medical intervention to sexual assault.
Sexual violence can be significantly reduced or completely eliminated when the women are empowered and educated concerning the rights to their bodies and persons. As a qualified nursing professional, I would embark on public education where I would educate the women and empower them regarding their rights to their bodies as well as a right to their sexuality. An empowered woman takes charge of their sexual life and is not easily manipulated by external forces. Secondly, public education in relation to sociocultural beliefs that place males as being superior to females would also be among my primary missions. Preaching gender equality will help in changing the destructive sociocultural beliefs that promote sexual violence against women (Dills, Fowler & Payne, 2016; Basile et al., 2016).
Sexual assault is a sensitive topic that is often shunned by most people in the society or discussed in low tones and not given the airtime that it requires. Women are especially vulnerable when it comes to sexual violence as they are marginalized both physically and through sociocultural norms and practices. The government should come up with strategies that promote women empowerment as well as those that put an end to discrimination and stigma that is associated with sexual assault and their accompanying complications such as trauma and other related mental disorders. Including the men in the fight against sexual assault on women also plays a major role in promoting gender equality, which is effective in the reduction of incidences of sexual violence.