How does one recognize they are a victim?
There is more than one answer to this question because people react differently to traumatic events. I suspect that often it is the other people in the victim’s life who first recognize something has happened. In my own case, I changed from an extroverted, happy-go-lucky girl to an introverted, depressed person. This personality change happened immediately after my attack. In fact, I sometimes describe myself as dying in that brutal event. Of course, this caused great confusion and concern for those closest to me, like my parents and my boyfriend.
Victims display a variety of behaviours and a wide range of emotions following a rape. They often become withdrawn and very guarded, tearful and depressed, angry and vengeful. Simply put, they become a different person, troubled and disturbed.
What has been / is being done to prevent this crime?
Fortunately there is much more open discussion about sexual violence now, as compared to when I was victimized 37 years ago. A wide variety of victim service programs and community organizations have been developed throughout Canada and the United States in recent years. Various levels of Government have become involved and I am optimistic that this positive trend will continue – it has to.