Rape is a hate crime. It is a purely criminal act designed to induce terror. By brutalizing a woman, the intent is to humiliate, degrade, and ultimately break her. And as such, it is not only a violent act against an individual—it is violence committed against their family and their children with devastating effects.
My mother Nadia was repeatedly raped by her stepfather as a teenager. When she eventually had the courage to come forward, she was nevertheless forced by the rest of her family to remain silent. They feared the stigma and dishonor that mark the family of a rape victim.
Many survivors do not report sexual assaults because it is associated with shame and a profound fear. At the same time, culturally, the gravity of the crime is downplayed.
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