What comes into your mind when you think about rape in Kenya? The issue of rape has been a topic of discussion for so long, research showing that a girl or a boy, a man or a woman is raped everyday. Some of these rape survivors receive justice for these actions while some of them are left without justice and their abusers go freely.
In any case, rape is painful and has tremendous effects on the survivor’s life after the action. Everyone dreams of having sexual intercourse willingly and with the person they have romantic feelings with.
This is because sex is not just about pleasure, its about attachment and becoming one with the other person. This is described as the best feeling ever. However the worst happens when one is forced to have sex without their consent.
People tend to see the physical wounds and damage that rape causes to the survivor such as bleeding, physical wounds due to the harassment and many more. Unfortunately we fail to notice the emotional breakdown and mental suffering these survivor’s go through.
It is true not all wounds are visible and its the invisible wounds that hurt the most and cause the most damage. Emotionally rape survivors go through post traumatic stress including flashbacks and nightmares about the incident, severe and uncontrollable thoughts, they also go through depression involving sadness, feeling of hopelessness, unexplained crying and anxiety.
The worst of all is suicidal thoughts and dissociation. Rape survivor’s go through these emotional wounds without anyone noticing or seeing the internal suffering they go through.
In addition to emotional suffering, rape survivor’s also go through severe mental suffering due to the painful incident. The survivor’s mentality about trusting others changes, they tend to see that everyone is an abuser and does not have good intentions about them.
They also become angry and blame themselves for the incident. Due to the incident, rape survivor’s tend to fear and feel vulnerable. No matter how strong the survivor’s may seem, they can’t help but feel helpless, in shock, numb, disoriented and the need to withdraw from others.
The fact that these people feel this way doesn’t mean they are weak but it means they are human and fighting it so they are strong.
Different survivor’s of rape in Kenya react differently to these wounds or pain. Some suppress them so no one notices and some react negatively to a point they may be called crazy or insane. They may develop a negative outlook about life and feel unworthy of a better life. This may lead to them trying using drugs and alcohol in a way to cope up with these overwhelming feelings. Some are seen to withdraw from others while others prefer sleeping and overworking to avoid feeling lonely.
In a nutshell, survivors of rape in Kenya and globally face painful invisible wounds, and healing an invisible wound is the hardest. It requires love, patience, closure, understanding and the precious gift of time from the people that surround the survivor’s for them to be whole again. Lastly to the survivor’s, recovery will probably feel like you are getting worse, you will be anxious and fearful but its okay you are strong. You will think what will happen if I let go? How do I overcome? How do I become normal again? You should know its gets worse before it gets better and there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence. The rape tore you but it did not end you and you should show that surviving is beautiful.