Sexual Violence: Dealing with effects of Rape

By Ore Taiwo Makinde. Image credit: freepik.

The Unexpected Happened I was pregnant, carrying my second baby, on a night call several years ago when the unexpected happened! I cannot recollect exactly how long it took to get over the events of that night, but it is clear in my memory like yesterday. The lone doctor on duty, I was forced to lie flat on the floor by robbers, who pretending to be patients came into the hospital where I worked. We watched helplessly as they deftly worked their damage into our souls and minds.

Losing my wedding bands that night was the least of my concerns when two young co-workers, sexually brutalised under my watch, needed my attention within the hour. In the few minutes following the exit of these inhumane set of people, I took the delivery of an admitted patient who had been in labour. I escaped being raped physically, but my mind and consciousness of freedom while working in my quiet corner to save lives were violated.

Present Day Reality Listening to the news in recent few weeks left my mind jarring with alarming thoughts on how our world got to be this way. To make matters worse, fellow citizens were explaining it away and commenting on how it is the way the abused person appeared to the abuser that resulted in their rape! As I type these words; lending my voice to the cause, my mind re-enacts the mental images of what happened over a decade ago. My heart does not just weep; it bleeds.

What is Rape? Rape is sexual violence. It is a criminal offence that is planned by the offender. It doesn’t just happen. Unfortunately, our society has succeeded in absolving the rapists and making the victims, culprits. Sexual assault should not be justified for any reason, no matter the time, place or person involved.

Effects of Rape The effects of sexual violence or rape are far-reaching, going beyond the physical bruises and scarring the mind. For many victims, it leads to shame, fear, self-blame, stigma, isolation, mistrust, nightmares and flashbacks. Most victims are tormented by symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and even depression. The list of problems emanating from the act of rape is endless including the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and the worst of all, death.

Dealing with the effects of Rape

How can a victim or even our society as a whole deal with all of these effects? Let me summarise in a few sentences what you as a victim can do to recover as well as what we can do as a society to ease the pain of those suffering from such violence; whether male or female, adult or child.

Realise firstly that the act of violence was not your fault. The blame game should be stopped and all myths surrounding rape dropped by everyone. Studies point to the fact that rapists select their victims based on their vulnerability and not how they appear. Or how would you explain the rape of a victim in a full hijab?

Secondly, speak out. You need to speak out for yourself and the rest of us must speak out for the victim. Opening up on the hideous trauma is the first step to healing but victims should be sure they will get the needed support and not blame. If you can’t confide in your family member or religious leader, there are helplines to call and sexual assault centres where you can get support. 

Assess healthcare immediately to get access to both treatment and preventive measures. When this is done, it is easier for the healthcare personnel to elicit findings that will identify the perpetrator and convict him or her in court. Rape kits are available in sexual assault centres, government health facilities and some private medical centres for this purpose.

Get psychological help. Get counselling. See a psychiatrist or psychologist. Most victims fail to get psychological help and try to deal with the hurt by themselves for a long time. There are child psychiatrists who can help the abused child as well. Early contact in this regard will help deal with emotional and psychological trauma faster.

Avoid self-isolation. This can lead to depression and suicide. It is important to reconnect with normal activities as soon as possible though this can be deterred by feelings of shame and stigma. It is natural to want to escape thoughts that remind one of the event and some victims may want to shut out thoughts by watching television, using drugs or by drinking. Spend time with those who value you rather than with those who blame you.

Engaging in moderate physical activity and breathing exercises can help to boost your mood and ease the feelings of panic that could come up from time to time.


Lastly, we must advocate for justice for victims of sexual violence. We must not stay silent. Rapists should be punished severely to prevent this unwholesome act from perpetuating itself in our country. Those who violate the rights of anyone in this regard should not be allowed back into society until they are properly rehabilitated.

The victim of sexual violence may be a friend, sibling, cousin, father, mother, husband or wife to you or any of your loved ones. Let us all speak out in one voice to quelch this ravaging endemic against humanity. Only then will full recovery and true freedom be possible for our society.

Dr Moyosore Taiwo Makinde is fondly known as Dr Ore.

Dr Ore Taiwo Makinde is a Consultant Family Physician and certified Lifestyle Medicine Physician. She is the founder of Lifestyle Champions International. 


  • Victoria July 20, 2020 9:42 am

    Thanks for sharing this, ma’am.
    I got raped in my house, by a robber. I sought all the help I could get.
    I’ve experienced and recovered from PTSD.
    As I read through your write-up, I found myself checking a list in my head to be sure that I have allowed myself go through all those things and healed, to be sure that I have not denied myself of any help
    It’s a terrible thing to go through.
    But I’m a living testimony that one healing is possible.
    Gradual, but possible.
    And forgiveness is possible too, for the good of the raped
    Justice is possible, perhaps slow or nonexistent in Nigeria (I don’t even want to go into the response of the police to the robbery).
    But I have healed nicely to a large extent
    And all you shared, they are true.
    Having friends that would not allow you be alone to slip into depression is key
    Like I usually say, God gives us people for times.
    I ask people to check their circles of influence. If you’re undergoing a trauma or a terrible time and there’s no one in your current circle you can point to that will seek you when you hide and will not allow you walk rough roads alone, then you need to change your circle cos a time will come when you’ll need a strong support system.
    A part of my support system sent this to me.
    Thanks, ma’am.

    • lcifoundation July 20, 2020 1:08 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story here. You are a living reality of what happens to victims out there but your story tells me that you have become a champion already. You are no more the victim but the victor!
      I thank God for his healing power in your life and for the support system around you. Your story will encourage others to seek care, support and healing as well. Bless your heart! Much love.
      Dr Ore.

  • MICHAEL KOKU August 6, 2020 6:47 am

    Thanks for giving yourself to the Lord Jesus to be used by Him to heal the hurting and be a Difference Maker

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