AN EXAMINATION ON THE NEGATIVE EFFECT OF RAPE EXPERIENCE ON WOMEN'S MENTAL HEALTH IN INDIA
1.1 Background of the Study
A sexual act that carried out against the will of the person and may not necessarily involve direct physical contact is defined as Sexual violence (SV). Predominantly, it is perpetrated by a man against the women, and further, it also associated with some mental health problems including sleeping disorder, depression and anxiety, obsession, acute stress disorder, mental retardation, post-traumatic stress, and disorders to the victim. Conceptually, the term rape originates from the Latin word “rapere” (supine stem raptum), “to snatch, grab, carry off”. Since the 14th century, the term has come to mean “to seize and take away by force”. Health organizations and agencies have also expanded rape beyond traditional definitions. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines rape as a form of sexual assault, while the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDCP) include rape in their definition of sexual assault; they see rape, as a form of sexual violence. (G. & et al., 2022)
In the same context, rape as not only cause damages on children and women but also on the society as a whole. The increase of rape rate in the society has very evident linkages with increased drug abuse. Rape can be clearly seen as a crime not only to the victims but the entire society as it traumatizes and overwhelmed the victim with great psychological pains and other likely venereal infections like STD. This could lead to fear, panic, nightmares on the victims (Barbaree, 2021). Similarly, for clarity, rape is seen as a common phenomenon against the female gender, as they are the most vulnerable. It should be noted here without any reservation that rape is an assault and a criminal offence because if not properly counseled such a victim might be mentally down. In mixed method research, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported sexual violence as a significant factor of poor mental health status in women across countries including India. Rape affects more than 50% of women across the globe and has a significant impact on their health. However, previous quantitative studies established a positive relationship between rape and ill mental health, but there is a limited qualitative study to explore the situation in how women face it, and how it is linked to the mental disorders. Far too little has explored on issues connected to the ‘sensitive issues’ like sexual violence against women in a developing country like India, a country deeply embedded in patriarchal values.. In a research conducted by Kamal (2019), he discovered that two-thirds of women who were the victim of rape in the study area did not tell anybody about the sexual violence. However, the lack of sharing may result in the worst situation. Similarly, women who were physically abused by their partners were more likely to be emotionally abused and or vice versa. Sexual violence between partners included forced intercourse and other forms of sexual coercion (Jewkes, Vundule, Maforah & Jordan, 2017). However, It is essential to understand the issue of and its impact on mental health problems in women because of their increasing participation in the economy, their crucial roles in growth and development of children and welfare of the elderly.
Further more, according to Anderson (2016), rape is a direct threat to the society; and it is spreading like a disease. It affects children and women badly as causes damage to their emotional, psychological, cognitive, and physical development. Also, Briere, J. & Jordan, C.E. (2017) asserts that rape can leave a deep scar of the minds of children and can destroy their whole personality. Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to examine the negative effects of rape experience on women's mental health in India
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The consequences of rape experience may not only result in unwanted pregnancies, teenage pregnancy, abortions, suicide cases, single parenthood and sexually transmitted diseases but on their mental well-being. The victim is left with what appears to be a continuous struggle to adjust back into society again. The rights to the dignity, privacy and integrity of every person are basic to the ethos of the constitution and to any defensible civilization (Lawrence & Van Rensburg, 2016). According to report by the United Nations, 32 percent of India girls younger than 18 have experienced some form of sexual violence or harassment. That number may even be higher due to the large number of unreported rapes cases, for fear of stigma (WHO, 2014). Rape has gained much attention because of its negative effects on victims. The rape victims may be emotionally damaged and may experience psychological problems (Buddie & Miller, 2017). In addition, most research has focused on perpetrators of rape whom already had been convicted and sentenced for their crimes. Others mainly focused on college males and their likelihood of perpetrating sexual violence; specifically, rape (Gidycz, et al. 2017). Additionally, several studies have concentrated solely on rape myths, while others have examined general beliefs about what leads to rape. However, it is in the light of these that the study seeks to examine the negative effects of rape experience on women's mental health in India.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the negative effects of rape experience on women's mental health in India. Specifically, the study will;
1. Identify the causes of rape experience among women in India
2. Determine the prevalence and nature of rape in India.
3. Examine the negative effect of rape experience on women's mental health in India.
1.4 Research Questions
The study will be guided by the following questions;
1. What are the causes of rape experience among women in India ?
2. What is the prevalence and nature of rape in India?
3. What are the negative effects of rape experience on women's mental health in India?
1.5 Significant of the Study
An examination on the negative effect of rape experience on women's mental health in India will be revealed to the government at various levels, women rights activists, NGOs, law enforcement agencies, women, media houses and students in this study. Additionally, it will educate students and women on the causes of rape, assist NGOs in educating parents and children about the problem of sexual assaults and rape, and promote community discussion on Gender-Based violence. Furthermore, the media will be able to use the information to instruct the general public about the Sexual Offense Act of 2006 and the harsh penalties for committing rape.
Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to an examination on the negative effect of rape experience on women's mental health in India.
1.6 Scope of the study
The scope of this study is boarded on an examination on the negative effect of rape experience on women's mental health in India. Theoretically, this study will identify the causes of rape experience among women in India, determine the prevalence and nature of rape in India and examine the negative effect of rape experience on women's mental health in India.
Geographically, the study will be delimited to women in Goa, India.
1.7 Limitation of the study
In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.
In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.
More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Rape : unlawful sexual activity.
Rapist: a person who rapes someone.
Mental health: is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with stress.
Negative effect: A fact, situation, or experience that is unpleasant, depressing, or harmful.