Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Cost of Rape

There’s the horror. The shame. The hate. The confusion and rage and fear and insanity. There’s the crying, the sense of loss and betrayal, the loss of trust and the loathing of touch. There’s the memory flashes, the acrid scents. There’s pain and sorrow. There’s sleepless nights and doubt and regret and rage rage rage. And then, when it seems it can’t get worse, there’s the bill

137$ for an HIV test. 357$ for Hepatitis B Immune Globulin, 71$ for a gonorrhea test, 780$ just to walk in the door. Then there’s more HIV tests, syphilis tests, bacteria cultures, urine tests, pills, preventative shots. It can add up to thousands of dollars All in all, just the trip to the hospital can cost you over 4500$ if you happen to live in America, and aren’t fortunate enough to be insured. 4500$ because you were the victim a deranged and desperate grasp at feeling superior. 4500$ dollars to cover only the most basic treatments to ensure your health, not even mentioning the months, if not years of counseling, the risk of pregnancy, and the risk of developing some form of addiction to mask the pain.

And Americans have it good. The cost put you in debt for years, an unforgivable shame, but at least you will receive the medical help you need. Not all countries are so fortunate. In South Africa, the AIDS capital of the world, estimates range as high as one in three women have been raped. This is further exacerbated by the absurd belief that sex with a virgin will cure AIDS. Because of this bizarre belief and the wide socio-economic gap many women do not have access to proper health care and are unable to receive adequate forms of treatment. They are inflicted with a disease their attacker was trying to rid themselves of, or didn't even know they had and forced to fend for themselves. And with less than 15% of rapes being reported, these women are most commonly without any form of hope. They are left with nothing but emotional scars and a disease which they may never find solace from.

For the women unfortunate enough to be raped in even less wealthy countries; in most of Africa and South America, in the less industrialized parts of Asia and the middle east; there is virtually no hope. There is no AIDS test, there is no immunization, no trip to the city for a couple of shots for even mild diseases. Rape victims face unimaginable pain, they should not be financial victims as well. They should not have to live shortened, fractured lives because of the audacious actions of their attackers.

It would be unkind not to mention the many groups that exist to selflessly help the victims of rape. There are too many websites, help-lines, meetings, lawyers and individuals who have dedicated their lives to helping rape victims to mention. But these are not enough. The victims deserve more than just an empathetic pat, someone to talk to and a costly bill. They deserve justice, and a normal life. They deserve the medicine they require at no personal loss and they deserve the happiness they could have had. They may not live perfect lives, but they shouldn't be so easily dismissed.

Written By Matthew Ariss

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