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UNDERSTANDING THE MIND SET OF VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE

By the end of the presentation, participants should able to: 1. Outline the structure of the Mind as described by Freud. 2. Briefly explain the functions of the Id, Ego and Superego. 3. Appreciate the possible responses of a victim to sexual assault. 4. Discuss the victims possible responses to sexual assault. 5. Understand the state of mind of the victim to sexual assault.

THE MIND OF THE VICTIM PRE-ASSUALT

Few sexual assault victims are anticipating a violent assault at the time it occurs; so most are shocked, surprised, and terrified when it happens. Sexual assault victims often have feelings of unreality when an assault occurs and think, "This can't be happening to me."

National Women's Study data from sexual and/or physical assault victims, Kilpatrick, Edmunds, and Seymour (1992) and Acierno, Byrne, Resnick, and Kilpatrick (1998) found the following: One-third to one-half of assault victims develop depression. Risk of alcohol abuse is increased by a factor of 4. Risk of drug use is increased by a factor of 3.5. Ninety-five percent of a clinic sample with panic disorder had a victimization history. Seventy percent of treatment-seeking trauma victims reported four or more panic symptoms. Thoughts of suicide (Kilpatrick et al. 1992; Saunders et al. 1992; Kilpatrick et al. 1985). Attempting suicide (Kilpatrick et al. 1985; Kilpatrick et al. 1992; Saunders et al. 1992). Developing alcohol or other drug abuse problems (Burnam et al. 1988; Cottler et al. 1992; George and Winfield-Laird 1986; Kilpatrick et al. 1994; Sorenson et al. 1987). Anxiety disorders such as panic disorder (Burnam et al. 1988; Saunders et al. 1992), agoraphobia (Burnam et al. 1988; Saunders et al. 1992), and obsessive compulsive disorder (Burnam et al. 1988; Saunders et al. 1992).

Sigmund Freud, the father of Psychoanalysis, posited that the psychi (mind) consists of three structures: - the Id - Superego, and - Ego

This refers to the PRIMITIVE part of the psychi. It is the part of us that we are born with, and is driven by the ANIMAL INSTINCTS. Freud argues that the Id functions according to the PLEASURE PRINCIPLE. It seeks to maximise pleasure and minimise discomfort. It is ILLOGICAL and is the drive for what feels good and is fun.

That part of the psychi that is driven by the desire to be MORAL and good. It is formed during early childhood when we become aware of CULTURAL NORMS & SOCIETAL STANDARDS. The superego develops from the internalization of PARENTAL VALUES and functions according to the MORALITY PRINCIPLE.

The third part of the psychi is the ego. It is our sense of SELF and develops during toddlerhood as we begin to seek autonomy from our parents. The ego is the EXECUTIVE CENTRE of the psychi. It controls the Id and superego.

It seeks a balance between the CONFLICTING drives and desires of the Id, and the DEMANDS of the superego. It seeks to gratify the Ids desires for PLEASURE in accordance with the superegos desire for what is moral. It is the I of personality.

According to this model, the conflicts and interactions among the three structures determine much of our behaviour.

HOW THE MIND DEALS WITH THE TRAUMA OF A SEXUAL ASSAULT AN INDIVIDUAL RESPONSE

* To minimise anxiety * To protect the ego from stress/trauma * To maintain ones self concept * It prevents mental discomfort * It leads to some economy of time and effort.

PRIMARY: These serve to prevent unacceptable ideas or impulses from entering the conscience. Repression Denial

the individual denies that the threatening event even took place;

SECONDARY: These are outgrowths of the primary defense mechanisms Conversion * - the changing of mental conflict into a motor or sensory symptom; Displacement - re-directing emotions to a substitute target; Dissociation - mental process that severs a connection to a person's thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity; reaction formation Regression - going back to acting as a child; Displacement - the shifting of intended targets, especially when the initial target is threatening.

* *

The unconscious process of burying memories to protect the ego. The emotions associated with repressed memory may be recovered, or express themselves in: dreams, hypnosis and free association. Repressed memory can be recovered through therapy and/or hypnosis.
When one asks you, where you sexually abused as a child. There are only two answers : Yes or I dont know. You cant say no.

Sublimation is the transference of sexual energy, or libido, into a physical act or a different emotion in order to avoid confrontation with the sexual urge. It is based on the belief that sexual energy, the creative function of the human being, can be used to create a spiritual nature instead of being let out in hopes of creating physically or sensually

They operate in the unconscious Elicited from or in response to psychic threat There is a reduction in anxiety arising from the conflict or threat Defenses vary on a continuum of adaptation

VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT


Victims" means persons who, individually or collectively, have suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that are in violation of criminal laws operative within the country, including those laws proscribing criminal abuse of power.

The Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, first described a basic type of learning called classical conditioning (Pavlov 1906). Kilpatrick, Veronen, and Resick (1982) noted that a violent criminal victimization is a real life classical conditioning experience in which being attacked is an unconditioned stimulus that produces unconditioned responses of fear, anxiety, terror, helplessness, pain, and other negative emotions.

Any stimuli that are present during the attack are paired with the attack and become conditioned stimuli capable of producing conditioned responses of fear, anxiety, terror, helplessness, and other negative emotions.

AVOIDANCE BEHAVIOR

The most common response to crime-related conditioned stimuli is avoidance behavior. Thus, there is a natural tendency for SEXUAL ASSAULT victims to avoid contact with crime-related conditioned stimuli and to escape from situations that bring them in contact with such stimuli.
SECOND-ORDER CONDITIONING

A final classical conditioning mechanism with important implications for understanding the behavior of sexual crime victims is second-order conditioning. Any stimuli present at the same time a crime-related conditioned stimulus is present can become a second-order conditioned stimulus that also evokes fear, other negative emotions, and a strong tendency to engage in avoidance behavior

This is important for practitioners because police, prosecutors, and victim service providers may become associated as a secondorder conditioned stimulus.

Reasons for Non-reporting, Delayed Reporting & Withdrawal of Complaints Fear is a big issue for victims of sexual assault. The fears about the sexual assault that influence a victims reluctance to tell others, especially law enforcement authorities, include: Fear that no one will believe him/her. Concern that she/he will not be treated fairly by the criminal justice system or others. Fear she/he will be blamed because of alcohol or drug use. Fear of everyone knowing the private details of his/her life.

Fear of retaliation by the offender or the offenders friends and

family. Emotional attachment to the offender. Fear of what will happen to the offender and not wanting to get the offender in trouble. In incest cases, the victim may be concerned about their family being broken up. Women who are in the country illegally may be especially likely to doubt that they will be treated fairly by the system, and may face fears of being deported, criminally charged for other activities, or having children removed from their custody.

RAPE TRAUMA SYNDROME


The acute phase of Rape Trauma Syndrome includes: Physical reactions ranging from soreness, bruising, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, headaches, loss of appetite, and flashbacks. Emotional reactions including mood swings, fears, phobias, anger, desire for revenge, irritability, loss of control, and heightened sensitivity. While this may be difficult for others to understand, it is not uncommon for victims in this stage to be numb and appear outwardly calm and subdued. In the denial or recoil phase, the victim wants to forget. This stage of denial may cause the victim to avoid dealing with the trauma by not seeking medical care, not reporting the crime to the police, or not discussing it with others. For victims of sexual assault, engaging in familiar, routine tasks is more than avoidance; it is a way of reaffirming their sense of self and competency.

The long-term phase of Rape Trauma Syndrome consists of:

Psychological reactions including dreams, nightmares, fears, and phobias. The victim may experience intense feelings of guilt, self-blame, and anger. Social reactions including change of residence, phone number, and disruption of relationships. You will find, if you have not already, that victims are often difficult to locate because of this type of reaction. Sexual reactions ranging from a fear of sex to a marked increase in sexual activity.