(Photo credit: The ViewsPaper)
The second rape I’m referring to in my title is not literal assault by a ‘doctor’ but more so an emotional and mental assault of a sexual assault survivor seeking help from doctors, lawyers and other systems providers. And most times, their friends, families and community members.
Sexual assault is perhaps the only crime in which its victims are victimized first by their attackers and second by legal, medical, and mental health systems (i.e. lawyers, psychologists and nurses) and even members of their communities. This secondary victimization or even “second rape” prohibits survivors of rape1 from thoroughly recovering and in addition perpetuate the idea that a rape survivor, male or female (although statistics show that women are succumbed to rape more than men), is to blame rather than the attacker. Campbell and Raja (1999)2 define secondary victimization as behaviors and attitudes of social service providers that are "victim-blaming" and insensitive, and which traumatize victims of violence who are being served by legal, medical, and mental health systems. This “second rape” by those meant to support survivors, in turn trivializes the crime and results in apathetic and discriminating attitudes towards sexual assault survivors.