Psychological Effects of Rape: Experiences from Survivors Attending Selected Post-Rape Care Centres in Kenya

Abstract

Rape leads to long lasting physical, psychological, sexual and reproductive health effects on rape survivors which need to be addressed at post-rape care centres. Although there are studies conducted on the prevalence of rape in Kenya, there is limited information on the effectiveness of psychological interventions provided to rape survivors in the existing post-rape care centres. Therefore, the study sought to ascertain the psychological effect of rape on survivors in selected post-rape care centres in Nairobi and Uasin-Gishu Counties in Kenya. The study was guided by the Crisis theory by Caplan. The study utilized a descriptive survey research design. The target population were rape survivors aged between 10-45 years who had attended at least three psychological interventions while the key informants were the counsellors in these centres. Purposive sampling was used to obtain a sample of 44 rape survivors and 9 key informants from the two selected post-rape care centres. Consent forms were issued to the adult participants (18 years and above) to sign. The participants (10-17 years) were given assent forms after they were made to understand about the purpose of the research in the presence of their parents or guardians. The data was collected by use of structured questionnaires developed by the researcher. The researcher assisted the primary school children and illiterate participants through Swahili translation of items in the questionnaire. The data collected was analysed using simple descriptive and inferential statistics. Majority of participants, 73%, were female while 27% were male. Moreover, 72.7% of the participants were aged between 10 and 17 years while 27.3% were above 18 years. The psychological effects experienced by all (100%) rape survivors were: sadness, anxiety, revengeful feelings, difficulty in sleeping, experiencing terrifying dreams, avoiding people, experiencing feelings of being re-raped, feelings of intense fear, feelings of stigma and bitterness. This study recommends that implementers should put emphasis on: adequate provision of legal services, follow-up, family counselling, outreach services, community sensitization, adequate financial support to create more post-rape care centres, expansion of the existing centres, hiring more skilled counsellors and enhancing continuous professional development.

Keywords: Kenya, Rape, post-rape care centres, psychological effects, survivors


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