By Suzzane Tamara
One of the most disquieting dangers young adults face is the risk of sexual assault. The ACLU estimates that 95% of such cases go unreported. Sexual assault describes a wide range of FORCED and UNWANTED sexual activity including kissing, exhibitionism, groping and rape. Approximately two out of three sexual assaults are committed by an attacker known to the victim. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), about 38% of rape incidents are committed by a friend or acquaintance of the victim.
I meet up with Joan*, a third year student. She is a joyful soul. She is smiling until I suddenly ask her about her sexual assault ordeal which she painfully narrates:
Joan: On that Friday night, Max (whom she now refers to as monster) invited me to his apartment. I went because he was a friend. He served me with drinks and after a round or two I got dizzy. The next thing I remember is waking up in the morning in a lot of pain, my clothes were soiled and I had scratches on my neck (she bends her neck for me to see).
I asked Max what happened and he claimed I had forced him to have sex with me. I asked him about the scratches on my neck which to me was a sign of resistance. All he could say was that I should stop acting like a kid and mature up.
Me: Why did you not report the incidence?
Joan: It was embarrassing because first I am a Christian and I wouldn’t want the world to judge me. I did not have any evidence. Max forced me to take a shower before leaving his room. I wish I knew then that I should have immediately visited the sanitarium and reported to the police. Max is still walking around free with no guilt in him.
Women are not the only victims of sexual assault. Men too face such situations. There is the Bonga App which we featured in our September Edition that could come in handy in such situations.
This is the continued use of alcohol, illegal drugs, or the misuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs with negative consequences.
Enrique is a friend of mine and a course mate. He no longer attends lectures, always absent minded and gets into many fights. His grades are worsening and he might be getting a deferment very soon. I caught up with him when he was a bit sober.
Me: Why did you start using drugs?
Enrique: All my friends were doing that and I wanted to fit in.
Me: What did it feel like the first time you used drugs?
Enrique: Guilty after the first puff. I thought I had betrayed my parents’ trust. A few minutes later I felt like I was King kong. The feeling was amazing. It consoled me and made me forget my worries.
Me: Did you ever choose to stop?
Enrique: Yes, there was this time I thought I could stop whenever I chose to. But when I tried that I could only go for two days and then I could not handle the severe headache and the fever. I realized I was already addicted. I can not work without a blunt in my pocket. (He pulls out one to show me).
Me: we both know that bhang is an illegal drug, so where do you get it from?
Enrique: I have got connections.
His phone rings and he walks away least he misses his daily doss.
Many have become slaves to drugs and cannot do without them. Those already addicted can get help from the numerous rehabilitation centres. Seek help. It is never too late.
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