Half of rape victims experience previous sexual abuse: survey

Nearly half of rape victims were previously sexually abused or assaulted, according to a survey among 300 rape victims by the Center Sexual Violence Utrecht, NOS reports.

There are currently 12 Sexual Violence Centers spread across the Netherlands. Next year that will increase to 16. These centers can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the number 0800-0188.

The aim of these centers is to help the victims of sexual abuse as soon as possible after the abuse occurred. The centers employ doctors, nurses, psychologists, sexologists, social workers and forensic experts from the police. All these people work together to make sure that victims not only get the medical and psychological help they need, but also that forensic evidence is collected so that the perpetrator can be caught.

According to Iva Bicanic, the national coordinator for the Sexual Violence Centers, almost half of rape victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within six months of being attacked. And PTSD increases the risk of falling victim to sexual violence again, she said to NOS. Luckily, there are treatments available that are proven to be effective against PTSD. "Without PTISD there is less risk of you experiencing sexual violence again", Bicanic said.

"We now have insight into a group of rape victims. One half experience it for the first time. For that group we want to prevent them getting psychological problems by helping them as quickly as possible to make sure it remains at only once. the other group, which experienced it more often and are left with psychological problems, we want to treat as soon as possible with proven effective methods", Bicanic said to the broadcaster.

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