By Sifu Lawrence Hochobeb
RAPE is generally considered one of the most serious sex crimes. The word rape originates from the Latin verb rapere, which means “to seize or take by force”. The English common law defined rape as “the carnal knowledge of a woman forcibly and against her will”. Common law defined carnal knowledge as the penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.
The heinous crime of rape is defined to occur when sexual intercourse takes place (or is attempted) without valid consent of one of the parties involved. It is frequently defined as penetration of the vagina or the anus by a penis.
However, the penetration need not be by penis but can be by other body parts, eg one or more fingers or by objects (eg a bottle). Others expand the definition of rape to include other acts committed using the sexual organs of one or both of the parties, such as oral copulation and masturbation, again enacted without valid consent.
Generally, consent is considered invalid if it is obtained from someone who is:
– Under any kind of duress (force, violence, blackmail, etc.);
– Judgmentally impaired or incapacitated by alcohol or drugs (legal or otherwise);
– Mentally impaired whether by illness or developmental disability; or
– Below the age of consent as defined legally.
Statutory rape refers to a sexual act that is considered rape by the law regardless of whether it was coercive or consensual. Such laws exist in order to prevent adults from having sex with minors who are deemed legally unable to give effective informed consent. Thus, sexual activity involving a person below the age of consent is known as statutory rape.
Different types of rape include but are not limited to: date rape, gang rape, marital rape, prison rape, acquaintance rape and wartime rape. Though people tend to assume otherwise, rape by a stranger is by far the least common form of rape. More common perpetrators are: steady dating partners, casual friends, ex-boyfriends, acquaintances, close friends, casual dates and husbands. Male-male rape is historically shrouded in secrecy due to the stigma men associate with being raped by other men while most cultures worldwide have not considered the possibility that women can commit rape against men and women.
Learn to take precautionary measures to protect yourself against rape. Rapists make no distinction between age, race, appearance or any other characteristics. Common sense is your best defence against a sexual attack. Because every rape is different, there’s no one solution for warding off an attack.
If you are attacked, evaluate the situation swiftly and look for ways to escape. Some women have avoided rape by talking their way out of it, acting crazy or fighting back. A kick in the groin isn’t usually successful because men instinctively protect this area and you may lose your balance. If you decide to respond physically, remember that your first priority is to get away. Act quickly and decisively to throw the attacker off guard while you escape.
Nonetheless, should you become a victim of a rape attack, go to a safe place and call the police. Make sure to preserve evidence – don’t shower or bath since blood and semen are important evidence. Don’t change your clothes or disturb the scene of the crime. Get medical care as soon as possible. Medical attention is vital for especially venereal disease treatment. Remember, even if you do get treatment immediately, follow-up tests for venereal disease and AIDS are essential.
Never be embarrassed because of the incident. Though difficult to talk about, it is important to tell doctors what sex act took place so they will know what medical attention is needed. Try to remember in detail your exact experience for police records. Give as accurate and complete description of your assailant as possible. This is extremely important!
Your complete co-operation with police may help in preventing similar attacks on others. As with any crime, the more information the police have, the greater their changes of making an arrest. Should you ever become a victim or be a witness, try to remain calm and take in details like the description of the attacker, his size, appearance, type and colour of clothing, tattoos or scars can help to identify the attacker.
Always report an offence or criminal act to the police even if you think it is unimportant or believe nothing will be done. Many criminals operate to a set pattern a particular area during certain hours. If incidents are reported then the police can establish the pattern of rapists’ behaviour and increase their chances of making an arrest.
Many women do not report rape. There are many reasons as to why women fail to report rape. One reason is that they perceive police officers as insensitive. Another reason is one of shame and stigma. Please report any rape or attempted rape to prevent repeat attacks.
Immediately following and sometimes for years after the attack, a sexual assault victim may suffer from the attack trauma syndrome.
Attack trauma syndrome is the acute phase and long-term re-organisation processes that victims experience as a result of a forcible sexual attack. It is important for victims to understand that these are common reactions. A victim who is experiencing symptoms of the attack trauma syndrome should seek or be offered professional help in order to deal with the problem.
Sifu Lawrence Hochobeb is the Founder and Chief Instructor of Namibia Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy.