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Sexual assault: Scars that last a lifetime

Young women in college are advised to be vigilant by listening to their instincts — and leaving immediately they sense danger

By Beverline Timanoi

Every woman who has experienced a sexual assault of any kind remembers every detail of the encounter.

Sexual assault includes attempted rape and unwanted fondling or sexual touching. It also involves forcing someone into non-consensual sexual acts by way of manipulation, physical, emotional or psychological force, including threats and intimidation.

College kids are teens who are away from home and trying to establish themselves as independent adults. They are full of energy and eager to break rules and party hard.

Not realizing the dangers of various situations they find themselves in, they fall prey to some men who lack control over their sexual desires.

People are raised differently and some men feel powerful when they are control; they feel adventurous and aggressive in order to prove their masculinity. Depending on upbringing, some women are made to believe that they should be compliant to any sexual approach, regardless of the circumstances.

Myths surrounding sexual assaults include the reasoning that a man is easily provoked by the sexiness of the female, that women mean yes when they say no, that women are liars, and that the man is entitled to the sexual act through marriage or purchase of gifts.

Tracy (not her real name) narrates her ordeal. “During our end-of-semester party, I was almost raped by a man I met at the party who was driving me home from there. On the way back to my room, he stopped at an empty parking lot and proceeded to unzip his trousers,

He then took out his manhood and ordered me to suck it. I said no, and I then lit a cigarette and threatened to burn his manhood with it. I think I managed to scare him because he quickly dropped me off on a street that was nowhere near my room, yelling obscenities and calling me a tease,” narrates Tracy.

“I didn’t tell anyone about this incident because I blamed myself for allowing a man I barely knew to drive me home,” she added.

Jane (not her real name), went through a gang rape after a group of students with whom she was in a house party raped her. “My boyfriend invited me to a house party in his house and when I got there at around 10 pm, they were already very drunk. The all-men party was lighted by a female presence and they all started making sexual moves at me, and attempts to ask for help from my purported boyfriend went unheard,” Jane says.

“After my boyfriend who was supposed to protect me had his way with me, the rest of the six guys raped me in turns. I was so ashamed of myself that I never reported the case,” she adds.

Psychologists confirm that most victims are haunted by the assaults all their lives, and in most cases they resort to drug addiction to numb the experience. The stigma that they will face after letting the truth out is too much to bear, and that is why most victims keep things to themselves.Clearly, defining sexual harassment to young girls is also important.

Agnes Lekumok,a psychologist, advises young women to be vigilant while in college by listening to their instincts. “If your gut tells you that you should not be alone with someone, leave. If the party is getting out of hand, leave. If the way someone looks at you or talks to you creeps you out, leave,” says Agnes.

“Always carry some cash and charge your phone when going out; have an emergency contact for such situations. Avoid sharing information of your whereabouts online,” she adds.

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