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Rape: the journey from victim to survivor: a critical literature survey

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dc.contributor.advisor Dr. A. Novello en
dc.contributor.author O'Sullivan, Lauren
dc.date.accessioned 2008-11-12T07:05:18Z
dc.date.available 2008-11-12T07:05:18Z
dc.date.issued 2008-11-12T07:05:18Z
dc.date.submitted 2003-12
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/1621
dc.description M.A. en
dc.description.abstract The prevalence of rape in the world and particularly in South Africa, calls for the understanding of the factors involved in rape. In particular, it is necessary to understand rape in terms of the victim, not just in terms of the prevalence, causes and social consequences of rape. The victim’s experience of rape is complicated and takes place over a journey that progresses from the assault, through her responses and psychological and social reactions to her recovery from the trauma. It is imperative that a clear understanding of previous research is gained in order to understand the existing epistemological picture of the rape victim’s experience. This dissertation has intended to achieve this understanding by reviewing the literature that has explored rape victim’s responses after the rape, the psychological and social impact the rape has had and the recovery process after the rape. In each of these instances the factors that are identified by research as influencing the rape victim’s experience are surveyed. The victim’s responses to rape are traumatic. It is therefore important to understand the nature of trauma and in particular Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS) in particular describes the traumatic responses of a rape victim. There are factors that influence the extent that the victim experiences responses to a rape. These factors include the extent to which a victim is believed about the rape, the extent to which it is thought that the victim precipitated the assault. Her own attributions about the rape will also influence her responses, as well as the nature of the assault, the level of violence, prior victimisation, past psychological treatment or mental illness, poor social support and other life stresses experienced at the same time as the rape. The victim does not only respond to the traumatic experience after a rape, but may also experience the psychological impact a rape may have. Reactions such as fear, anxiety, anger, aggression, guilt, shame, doubt, depression and psychopathology may be experienced as psychological reactions to a rape. The victim may also experience the impact a rape can have on her social functioning. She may withdraw socially and experience problems in her sexual functioning. The research reviewed indicated that there are factors that influence the extent that these reactions may impact on the victim’s life, if at all. These factors include: participation in the justice system, social support received after the rape, 8 cognitive appraisals made by the victim and possible psychological problems prior to the assault. The final part of a victim’s journey is the recovery. Recovery can be described the psychological work that is required by the victim. As with the responses and reactions that a rape victim experiences, the recovery process is also a journey that is dependent on many influencing factors. The factors that are identified as influencing the recovery process of the victim, both by enhancing it and by hindering it, include: demographic variables of the victim, previous victimisation, functioning before the rape (including chronic life stress and family grief, the nature of the assault, the relationship of the victim to the assailant, social support received after the rape, and the meaning the victim gives to the ordeal. This study of the existing literature concerning the journey of the rape victim through the responses she has after the rape, to the impact of the rape on her psychological and social functioning, to her recovery has highlighted the importance of influencing factors on this journey. It has also been noted by this study that there is a lack of evidence that can shed light on the factors that may influence the South African rape victim’s experience. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Rape victims en
dc.subject Post-traumatic stress disorder en
dc.subject Rape trauma syndrome en
dc.title Rape: the journey from victim to survivor: a critical literature survey en
dc.type Thesis en

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