Advertisment

Understanding Sexual Violence Against Women: Myths, Repercussions, and Ways Forward

author-image
Medriva Correspondents
New Update
NULL

Understanding Sexual Violence Against Women: Myths, Repercussions, and Ways Forward

Advertisment

Sexual Violence against Women - A Global Public Health Issue

Advertisment

Violence against women, particularly sexual violence perpetrated by partners, is a crucial global public health issue. It is estimated that around 17%-18% of women and 3% of men experience sexual violence in their lifetimes. This issue is brought into sharp focus in the emergency departments, where survivors of such violence seek comprehensive care, including emergency contraception, prophylaxis against sexually transmitted infections, and forensic evidence collection. It is crucial to understand that anogenital injuries resulting from sexual violence do not conclusively prove or disprove the occurrence of the violence. The presence or absence of these injuries can influence the victims' willingness to report the crime and the judicial decision-making process.

The Influence of Rape Myths on Victim Credibility

The mythology of rape and rape myths significantly impact the credibility of the survivors and the attribution of blame in the investigative process. These myths often reinforce harmful cultural attitudes, leading to victim-blaming, particularly when survivors do not fit the 'real victim' stereotype. While a systematic review showed that anogenital injuries were more likely in women who experienced sexual violence compared to those who had consensual sexual activity, the presence or absence of these injuries does not conclusively prove or disprove sexual violence. It is crucial for healthcare professionals to reassure survivors that the lack of anogenital injury evidence does not diminish the credibility of their account.

Advertisment

Gender-Based Violence - A Disproportionate Impact on Women

Gender-based violence includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that disproportionately impacts women, girls, and gender diverse individuals. More than 4 in 10 women have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. Women are significantly more likely than men to experience severe forms of this violence. Indigenous women and girls are at a higher risk of being murdered or going missing than other women in Canada. Women are five times more likely than men to experience sexual assault, with approximately 30% of women reporting at least one incident of sexual assault since the age of 15.

Digital Solutions to Combat Violence Against Women

Advertisment

Amidst this grim scenario, digital solutions like ChattyCuz are being tested to reduce partner violence against women. In a trial conducted in South Africa, it was found that women interacting with the chatbot experienced 11.3% less exposure to partner violence compared to the control group. The chatbot also significantly reduced violence facilitated by technology. The trial showed that the digital option did not result in more mental distress for users. The United Nations Women policy brief suggests that digital interventions may be essential for reaching broader populations in violence prevention efforts. ChattyCuz is currently being adapted for school-age girls in Colombia and is available as an open-source offering for teams interested in implementing the chatbot.

Available Help for Survivors of Violence

Apart from digital interventions, there are several other resources available to support survivors of violence. The National Domestic Violence Hotline, as an example, provides round-the-clock, free, and confidential help, including phone numbers and a live chat option. Similarly, the journal 'Violence Against Women' by SAGE publications aims to spread awareness and offer valuable insights into this issue.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while sexual violence against women is a significant problem, it is vital to dispel rape myths, support survivors, and ensure that the lack of physical evidence does not undermine the credibility of their accounts. Embracing digital solutions and leveraging available resources can play a significant role in addressing and reducing this global public health issue.

Advertisment
Chat with Dr. Medriva !