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Rape, the Chronic Trauma

Rape is one the most abominable crimes committed against women. The perpetration of rape is not only a physical assault but mainly a lethal attack on human dignity. Its repercussions on women’s psyche are grave and the damage caused to the rape victim is almost irremediable. Women normally have a dialectical relationship with their body image. Health Canada defines body image as the picture one has of his or her body, what it looks in the mirror and how it looks to others.
In fact, women realize at a young age that their body shape and the esteem of others are intertwined. Confused between media driven ideals and their own perception of their bodies, women are more likely to develop a distorted body image. A physical assault such as rape can have a devastating impact on women’s psychological structure. Victims of sexual abuse often feel extreme discomfort towards their bodies and a bitter sense of guilt.
Rape is a worldwide issue that threatens women’s physical and mental health throughout the world. Global estimates suggest that 30% of women are subjected to various kinds of violence including rape. According to the American Center of Disease Control and prevention, 20% of American women have been rape victims at one point in their lives.
The CDC report reveals that 80% of sexual assaults are committed by relatives. In 2O11, the number of rape victims reached 1.3 million, according to federal authorities. Alarmed by these figures, Katheleen Sbelius the secretary of Health and Human Services considered that the CDC study shows the seriousness of the problem of rape.

Imane Fahdi, a Moroccan psychology graduate, has conducted an empirical research about the relationship between rape and body image. She interviewed two rape victims and tried to appraise the impact of rape on their self esteem. For ethical reasons the name of the rape victims will not be revealed.
“A” is a 26 years old woman who was eager to disclose her suffering to the therapists in Ibn Sina hospital in Rabat. Her ordeal began the day she went to a café with a close friend. Some hours later, she found herself detained by a psychopath who raped her repeatedly before she could escape.
In a patriarchal society such as Morocco, where “the virgin” is the most treasured commodity, “A” felt irrevocably dishonored and could not turn to her family for comfort. She decided then to live on her own. Her unwanted pregnancy has further heightened her predicament. With few qualifications, she found herself in a downward spiral of drugs and prostitution.   “A” developed a negative relationship towards her body that she attempted to mutilate several times, especially when she recalled the rape scene. more
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