The Second Rape 

 

It is difficult for friends and family to deal with the rape of a child or loved one. They do not know what to do, and it is very difficult to confront the problem. Ignoring the rape or denying the rape is easier.

 

Since most abuse happens within a family or by a close friend, the caregivers may fear that, if they accept the rape, it will break the family structure or the source of income. Once a rape victim accuses a family member or friend, the rest of the family/friend community are forced to take a side against one of their own.

 

As a result, often the rape victim is met with no support as they are denied the love and caring they need and, instead, are attacked through isolation, ridicule, sabotage, verbal or emotional abuse, and even violence. Many victims say that this second abuse is more painful than the original abuse – thus the term, second rape.

 

And this second layer of abuse is extra potent as it perpetrates the culture of rape. The abuser can be confident that the victim will not speak out.  The abuser is empowered, able to dominate because the victim is left desperate and isolated.

 

Examples of the second rape.

 

In rural Chiapas, Anay lived with her grandfather and grandmother so she could attend school. However, during vacations her grandmother sent her to stay with her mother in another city.  There, her stepfather raped Anay every time he could be alone with her. When she was nine years old, Anay explained to her grandmother that she did not want to go her mother’s house and she told her grandmother what the step-father had done to her. Her grandmother beat her and sent her on the train to live with her mother. Anay did not stay silent. She told everyone in the family what the stepfather was doing. One of her uncles listened to Anay and allowed her to live with his family away from the rapist.

 

Antonia was raped by two of her classmates who were on the football team. At first, her friends supported her. However, the football team drew together and began to spread lies and rumors about Antonia, claiming she was lying. Her friends turned against her and avoided her. Antonia was alone and depressed. She missed classes. The administration punished her for missing school and put her in detention – further isolated and desperate. She left school. 

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