What If Rape Victim's Name Is Exposed?

 Rape survivor’s name exposed

A sexual assault survivor - is a person who has been sexually harassed (raped or assaulted like eve teasing, etc.). But even if we are able to define who is a sexual assault survivor in just one sentence consisting of 14 words, their pain can never be understood or described so easily. And a person who has been through that trauma can only understand what it means to sexually harassed because the rest of us even after trying a hundred times can only understand their up to 50%. And sadly and unfortunately a sexual assault survivor has not only go through the physical pain of someone forcing up on you but also the mental trauma that comes along. 

rape survivor's name exposed ichhori.com

A sexual assault survivor has to go through an arena of emotions and feelings, sometimes also inflicted by the cruel society which doesn’t accept sexual assault survivors and thinks that it is the fault of the female always because she must have worn short clothes or behaved inappropriately giving signals to the guy, must have been closer to the guy in all the wrong sense, and sadly the list seems to never end, although what most of them forget is the fact that women are still “OBJECTIFIED” because of which they don’t really have their own worth and belong to the men to satisfy their pleasures and needs. 

A Rape victim or survivor experiences a variety of emotions after the incident and often question themselves like,

  • The first question that comes to their mind is ‘Why me?’ Why did it happen to me? 
  • I feel dirty, when will this stop? I don’t want to deal with it anymore.
  • No one understand me, no one wants to stay with me.
  • No one is going to love me ever again, all of them will hate me.
  • These questions are followed by certain emotions like,
  • Sadness – One incident of sexual harassment totally breaks the victim down and her happiness vanishes off into thin air, what remains constant the sadness that she feels because of the incident.
  • Shock and numbness – The incident shocks her to the core and even when she is in pain, she feels nothing but only numbness caused by the incident. She feels like her life is now over and there is nothing that can go back to normal.
  • Trauma and fear – The incident of sexual assault creates a long lasting impression of fear and trauma from getting close to the opposite sex, from the touch of the opposite sex, etc. They are unable to trust anyone with their body anymore as their and mind is ruled by the trauma and fear of the heinous incident.
  • Guilt trip and self-blame – The patriarchal society plays a huge role in making the victim of the sexual assault believe that it was her fault for dressing inappropriately, getting close to the opposite gender and for provoking the beast in the man. And this blame by the society sends the victim into a guilt trip and self - blame where she thinks all of it happened because of her and she should have been more careful.
  • Distrust – If the heartbreak is caused by someone closer to you then it becomes very difficult one to overcome it and same is the case here. If she has been assaulted by someone very close to her, whom she used to trust, then after the incident she loses trust on everyone (humanity) because it was some of her near and dear ones who broke her trust.
  • All the above mentioned questions and emotions show the vulnerability of a rape victim or survivor but what comes off as a bigger hurdle in her way of living a normal life like other girls is the fact of whether her real name is exposed or not to the world. It is a politics between the individual’s choice to maintain secrecy and the freedom of press, as it chooses to gain popularity over the fact of being able to give authentic and exclusive information to the audience. 

What happens when a rape victim’s name is disclosed or exposed?

The answer to this question is very simple, her already exposed life is exposed more for the public cast a blaming eye on her instead on those culprits who did the heinous deed. It possibly makes her life a living hell as she can’t live a normal life anymore, nor that she had an amazing life earlier but the fact that her name has been exposed makes the situation even worse. She will be seen with the eyes of pity and sympathy, something which she would not want in her vulnerable position. 

She would want comfort and empathy of the people to help get back to her normal life but instead because of her name being exposed as a rape victim will traumatize her even more as whenever she would step out of her comfort able four walls of the house, all eyes will be strained on her, watching her every move, either feeling sorry for her or judging and criticizing her thinking about what would she have done to lure to men in enough to rape her. 

When a rape survivor’s name is exposed it is not only her who is tormented till death but also her family members, even they fall under the judgemental and questionable gaze of the society. Although, exposing the name of a rape survivor is a very sensitive issue and not everyone might react in the same way to the issue, although the debate of whether it is okay to expose a rape victim’s name or not brings in a whole different arena of issues like, the proponents who want to disclose the victim’s name think that doing so will increase the stigma attached to the rape but the opponents claim that doing so will only increase the stigma that rape victims should be treated differently thus making them different from girls their age or in general. And unfortunately they are not only treated differently when their names are exposed, instead are treated as untouchables.

Think if the rape victim is a young girl, then she will forever tune into darkness if her name is exposed as she small enough to not even properly understand what has exactly happened to her forget about all the judgemental glares and stares thrown her way. If the victim is a teenager or young adult, exposing her name will destroy her career, as every time she will go to a place for interview or even to college, there would be someone to bring up her horrid past and question about it thus not exactly letting her forget the past. And if it’s a women in her mid-20s or 30s then it would very hard to find a loving and understanding partner for her as every guy who would approach her or not would know her story and might not want to carry the baggage (as happened in many cases earlier) thus setting into the world of loneliness an shame, as if it was her fault for getting raped. 

Thus, it is very clear to understand what it does to a rape victim if her name is exposed or disclosed out in the open, her already difficult life becomes even more difficult with all the shaming, judgemental and hateful gazes of the society.

Ref: Names, identities of victims of rape and sexual assault not to be disclosed: Supreme Court - The Economic Times (indiatimes.com)

Perspectives on Disclosing Rape Victims' Names (fordham.edu)



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