Rape Trauma Syndrome

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You can most commonly find dictionaries defining rape as a sexual act committed by force especially on a woman (American Heritage). Until a few years ago it was limited to penile penetration of the vagina. Penal Code two hundred sixty-one defines rape as "an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person who is not the spouse of the perpetrator without the lawful consent" (Roberson). Penal Code two hundred sixty-three goes on to say that "the fundamental wrong at which the law of rape is aimed is . . . the violation of a woman's will and sexuality" (Roberson). All other sexual assaults are categorized under different names, yet the result is most often the same.

To most Americans Rape has a tendency to be one of the cruelest forms of criminal violence. The victim can suffer from incredible injuries, and substantial amounts of embarrassment. Rendered powerless by physical force, threats, or fear, after which being forced to submit to sexual acts, including vaginal penetration, oral copulation, sodomy, and penetration opening with a foreign object, the victim is left virtually alone. Rape is an intrusion into the most private and intimate parts of the body, as well as an assault on the core of the self. Whether or not the victim acquires any physical injuries, the psychological impact of a sexual assault is severe. Additionally, the painful, post-trauma symptoms that usually always accompany rape are long-lasting. Even the victims who seem to have been able to move on with their life often find that an extreme feeling of powerlessness and vulnerability remains close and can easily, and unexpectedly, be re-experienced. A most important aspect in the long-term impact of rape is that the assault negatively changes the victim...

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...f someone who has just been traumatized by a rape or any crime for that matter is a very delicate process and should not be taken lightly.

Works Cited

Parad, Howard J., and Libbie G. Parad. Crisis Intervention, Book 2: The Practitioner's

Sourcebook for Brief Therapy. Milwaukee, WI: Family Service America, 1990. Print.

The American Heritage College Dictionary. Boston [etc.: Houghton Mifflin, 1997. Print.

American Journal of Psychiatry. 1975. Print.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV. Washington, DC: American

Psychiatric Association, 1994. Print.

Gallers, J., Grossman, R. The Use of Flooding with Adult Survivors of Sexual Trauma. 1990.


Jerabek, Ilona, Behavioral and Cognitive Approaches to Rape Trauma Treatment (1998).

Roberson, Cliff. California Criminal Codes. Incline Village, NV: Copperhouse Pub., 2003. Print.

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