Sexual violence has long term effects

National, Normal

The National, Friday 19th April 2013


PHYSICAL injuries suffered during sexual violence will heal but the psychological damage cannot heal completely, a community health worker and trainer says.  

“We can only help them to deal with their trauma through counseling but the mental scars remain with the victims forever,” Paul Kunump of the family support centre said.

The centre is funded by donors as an alternative public medical organisation in Lae.

Kunump told a workshop attended by Lae district community development officers that the physical treatment of a rape victim was immediate and short but the psychological part would be long and difficult.

“In 2011 we were taking in on average 45 rape cases a month and more than half involved children,” said Kunump.

He said there was an appalling child sexual abuse situation in Lae city.

“It could be more,” Kunump said, referring to unreported cases attributed to compensation payments.

He said sexual abuse of children was gradual and moved over time to more serious forms of abuse, including rape.

“Any form of penetration, whether sexual or with a finger, is still rape and must be reported. 

“Members of the community need to be trained to identify the symptoms early to prevent the abuse continuing,” Kunump said.

The trainer also urged authorities not to entertain compensation payments for sexual assault. 

“In our communities, the victim’s relatives will be up in arms and I know you leaders will have to mediate between the parties to maintain peace but do not accept compensation as payment for rape,” he said.

“The victim must be brought for treatment and the crime must be reported.”