What is sexual violence and what consequences can it leave?

Following the scandalous judgment on the trial of five men who sexually assaulted a young section of the population, he was shocked, sparking a social debate on sexual violence and the need for reform of the penal code.

It becomes more than ever necessary to be clear about the meaning of sexual violence and the nature of the type of acts of which it is composed.

    What is sexual violence?

    The concept of sexual violence refers to a traumatic experience related to sexual activity maintained by two or more people without the consent of one of the people involved. This term encompasses three types of violence.

    1. Sexual harassment

    First, sexual harassment is usually carried out verbally, through messages, calls or coercion and blackmail, i.e. recourse to psychological violence. The abuser presses and intimidates the victim into having the other person have sex. For example, in the workplace, one person coerces another into having sex, otherwise they will lose their job.

    2. Sexual abuse

    Another type of sexual violence that we come across is sexual abuse. This term refers to any action that forces a person, male or female, to engage in sexual behavior that they do not wish to accomplish or maintain. In other words, the aggressor, whether male or female, it assumes the freedom to access the body of another person without their consent, And there is no authorization of sexual activity by any of the parties.

    3. Sexual assault

    Finally, sexual assault consists of accessing the victim’s body without their consent and resorting to direct violence as a means of entering into sexual activity. The most serious form of sexual assault is penetration.

    Beyond physical pain

    As noted, the perpetrator’s conviction may vary depending on the type of sexual violence used. One of the main differences between the three types is the use of physical violence. But as we know physical violence is not the only form of violence that exists and as the name suggests, in the different types we find ourselves under a case of sexual violence.

    Perhaps part of the debate that has opened up in recent days should be centered here and that it is not the use of physical violence that determines a greater or lesser punishment, but the act itself, the mere fact. to restrict a person’s sexual freedom is doomed.

    The sentence handed down states that there is no physical violence, with the victim confessing that she has chosen not to resist. There may be no visible beatings and injuries, but the unauthorized penetration of five men into a woman, coercion on sexual freedom and of course emotional harm and the subsequent psychological consequences are more than sufficient.

    Why are we sometimes unable to defend ourselves against a threat?

    One of the criticisms leveled at the victim is that he did not object to the moment of the sexual act. This behavior, from a psychobiological point of view, has a survival function when we are faced with a threat of a different nature.

    In our brain we have an extremely powerful sensor, known as the amygdala, which will be the internal alarm that alerts us that there is an external or internal threat, as this is one of the areas responsible for the fear. When our alarm sounds, our body will prepare to face this threat, that is, we will prepare to give a fight or flight response. With you a big adrenaline rush will appear in the body participating in this response. In turn, the decision-making areas are inhibited, anesthetized, due to chemical stress.

    Therefore, the person is in a state of hyperactivation, that is, all his alarm systems are activated, resulting in a complete inability to make decisionsIt will therefore be our nervous system which will instinctively decide to encourage our survival.

    Faced with very serious threats, situations of panic, trauma and crisis, where the situation overwhelms us and we do not have the necessary resources, our brain automatically disconnects. This phenomenon is known as dissociation, Thus protecting from emotional pain and suffering. In this state, there is a relative absence of sensations, a freezing of emotions or a reduction in physical movements. Being the least active defense, we won’t try to run away, we won’t be able to say no. Our brain will speak for us and the person will act automatically.

      What are the psychological and emotional consequences of sexual abuse?

      These are some of the common sequelae left by experiences of sexual abuse.

      1. TEPT

      Post-traumatic stress disorder can occur, with symptoms linked to the onset of nightmares where you relive what happened. Onset of flashback where memory appears very invasive, negative thoughts and mood swings.

      2. Appearance of feelings of guilt and shame

      The victim has the false belief that what happened could have prevented him from doing so had he acted differently.

      3. Stop talking

      Inability of the victim to explain their experience Fear of being rejected.

      4. Feelings of depression

      Sometimes you even develop an emotional disorder.

      5. Isolation

      Social isolation can be given out of shame, fear or mistrust of others.

      6. Self-harm

      Using self-destructive behaviors as a means of calming emotional damage suffered or even the occurrence of suicidal behavior

      7. Drug use

      Substance abuse as a way to isolate – and not think about – what happened to calm all the emotional damage.

      8. Decreased self-esteem

      All of this leaves a mark on the concept of the self.

        Relive the trauma

        It is important to consider the revictimization that occurs in the victim generated by institutions, media and professionals. Some initiatives cause the victim to relive the pain and emotions associated with the traumatic event over and over again. Especially in cases as high profile as this one, where the victim is even questioned in relation to the answer given.

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