By: Gokul Menon January, 23, 2020
“The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey” undertaken by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reveals some chilling facts. It states that most victims of rape in the U.S. knew their perpetrators and that more than 1 in 3 women have been victims of sexual abuse during their lifetime. Among men, 1 in 4 have been victims of sexual abuse during their lifetime.
The aftermath of sexual violence goes far beyond the physical. It can lead to a lifetime of psychological trauma and can have extreme effects such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Trauma resulting from sexual violence can affect the victim’s life in more than one way. It is essential to note that a system of hierarchy (gender, race, and class) is what enables this violence.
Alongside laws and steps that are required to prevent such violence from recurring, societal/community care is also crucial in this respect. The latter plays a vital role in assisting the victim in returning to normalcy. This includes the removal of taboos surrounding sexual violence. Creating a protective environment is essential in preventing the perpetration of such violence. Social-emotional learning should perhaps begin from schools and in other communities.
The insurance sector plays a role in this regard. It remains an essential component in responding to sexual abuse. Gavop’s research found that the Great American Insurance Group is one such provider that offers assistance and insurance to victims of sexual violence. It also provides legal defense expenses, since the hiring of experts can be very costly.
Huffington Post had earlier reported cases in which insurers had denied insurance to victims of rape who were suffering from conditions (Post Traumatic Stress Disorders, etc.) as a result of the violence they had undergone.
The onus of dealing with sexual violence does not solely fall upon the victims and their families. The gravity of the problem is much bigger and the responsibility of prevention and post-harassment support falls on the entire community. Insurers such as the Great American Insurance Group set a good precedent for the entire industry in assisting victims of sexual violence.
Gokul works as a writer at Gavop. He holds an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Hyderabad and a Bachelor’s in English from Madras Christian College. He has been a part of a couple of theatre groups, like Masquerade Youth Theatre and Theatre No. 59 and enjoyed being a part of Literary and Debating circles in Chennai. Gokul is an avid reader and has presented a few academic papers. He spends more time on Goodreads, than on any other social media platform.