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Rape Rape Trauma Syndrome Dictionaries most commonly define rape as a sexual act committed by force especially on a woman The American Heritage College Dictionary 1997 pg 740 Until a few years ago it was limited to penial penetration of the vagina Penal Code 261 defines rape as an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person not the spouse of the perpetrator without the lawful consentRoberson 1998 p 188 Penal Code 263 goes on to say that the fundamental wrong at which the law of rape is aimed is the violation of a womans will and sexuality Roberson 1998 p 190 All other sexual assaults are classified under varied names yet the aftermath is usually the same Rape is one of the cruelest forms of criminal violence The victim suffers a profound injury Rendered powerless by physical force threats or fear after which being forced to submit to sexual acts including vaginal penetration oral copulation sodomy and penetration opening with a foreign object the victim is left virtually alone Rape is an intrusion into the most private and intimate parts of the body as well as an assault on the core of the self Despite whether the victim suffers any physical trauma the psychological impact of a sexual assault is severe Moreover the painful post-trauma symptoms that result from rape are long-lasting Even those victims who appear to have recovered months or years later often find that an overwhelming sense of powerlessness and vulnerability remains close to the surface and can easily and unexpectedly be reexperienced A critical factor in the long-term impact of rape is that the assault radically changes the victims view of the world Basic beliefs about the environment other people and the self are shattered These are devastating losses Thus many survivors report that the rapist irrevocably alters their lives The rapist takes away something that the victims
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