I love reading. It is an opportunity to escape into another world and be somebody else for a change and for me it is an education. Well, this piece is about an education that I will not be flippant about. I review books because it helps me learn about concepts. I enjoy the books and also sometimes I get to make friends. I also have certain self imposed guideline I have given myself. I simply read as the intended reader and share how the book stands with me as a person.
Now that is off my chest, couple of months ago, I got books to read and review. Great I said to myself and read the first two and loved them. Quickly sent the authors questions I wanted them to answer. I like staying in touch with them. I have known authors who did not bother with me again after I had reviewed their books. Suits me fine.
In one of those batches of books I received was a book that I was horrified to learn I had missed for weeks as it sat in my computer overlooked. Couple of weeks later a guy sends me an email asking if I had read his book? What? I apologized, assumed it was one the books that I did not enjoy and told the fellow I had no understanding of the subject matter, so I wrote a nice email back that I could not get a handle on the book and explained my reasons. He gave me a nice reply and wondered what I could not understand about rape. I was shocked. Did he write about rape somewhere in that book? I stared at his name again really puzzled.
I went backtracking my emails on books to read, it was not on my downloads. I was getting ready to email back that he must have sent it to someone else but I wanted to be sure so I started checking my back emails…and there it was. I stared at it in shock. Downloaded and there was the name Robert Uttaro.. To the Survivors..blimey! I started to read.
I opened page one and was sucked in. I raged, cried, was angry and Bobby had me.He took me through the minds of people that made me look at a crime, that for us in my corner of the world we have been unable to define properly let alone classify and give it a name. Bobby’s book is about rape. It is a tough subject for a woman to treat, either personally or even to read. I had a tough book on my hands. I HAD to read, felt it, cried over it and was raw with a myriad of emotions for days..
Thank you Bobby, I almost didn’t like you but I do love you and I will like every human being to read this book. It is not fiction, when you read it, you will half wish you can dismiss it as fiction. Bobby’s confusion, and compassion glows through and also his sincerity and honesty.
1. Welcome Bobby to Ephesus.
Thank you for having me. It’s a blessing and honor to speak with you.
2. Can you define rape in all its ramifications as you understand it?
In my opinion, rape, especially child rape, is the worst crime human beings commit against each other as it causes the most damage to a person’s mind, heart, and soul over significant periods of time. People who are raped have their power and control taken from them. Some believe they will die during a rape and others want to die after. Think about how terrifying and sad this is. The pain and suffering that rape survivors experience can often last many years to a lifetime. But the damage caused does not just hurt the survivor; it hurts that person’s family and friends as well. Significant others are often devastated, sometimes more so than the survivor. I know of a man who was so broken after he learned that his girlfriend was raped years before. He didn't know what to do. He didn't know how to process it. It was as if nothing in life made sense anymore.
There are so many ramifications of rape, probably too many to list now. In my experiences, I have yet to see a crime that causes so much shame. If one feels shame, one will inevitably have serious health problems. Many, if not all rape survivors at one point in their lifetime, possibly even for years, have suffered deep shame. This is so incredibly sad because on top of being raped, a person most likely lives with shame for years. Shame is crippling and paralyzing. Think of the suffering people who have this undeserved shame live with and how it affects their lives and the lives of those around them.
The ramifications of rape are vast, but I will mention a few. Rape is linked to shame, anger/rage, depression, insecurity, anxiety, fear, suicidal thoughts and suicide, eating disorders, and other health issues. It causes low to no self-esteem. It can alter people's perceptions of themselves and the world around them. Many rape survivors live in fear. Many rape survivors are physically and spiritually shackled. Rape can shatter the soul. And on top of all of these horrific effects and sufferings, many rape survivors blame themselves. But I want everyone to know that it is not their fault and that they can regain control back. Their lives can be happier and healthier if they are unhappy and suffering. The soul can be strengthened and healed.
Lastly, there are many societal and financial ramifications from rape. Rape can be linked to drug addiction, prostitution, organized crime, and our prison populations, to name a few. For example, I had a meeting at a women’s prison in hopes of getting the book To the Survivors to the inmates. At the time of my meeting there were approximately 100 women incarcerated inside. The Director of Women’s Programming told me roughly 75% of the women had been raped. Also, the Director of Mental Health Services told me 99% of the women had been raped. Why were they incarcerated? The majority were incarcerated due to drugs and prostitution. There is a clear correlation between our female prison population, prostitution, drug addiction and rape. This is also true for some of our male inmates as well.
Ultimately, rape causes more damaging ramifications than I can answer in your question, but hopefully this is a good starting point and answers some of it.
3. Is Sexual assault, rape or sexual violence graded?
Some people grade different levels, but I don’t think that it is necessary to do. I don’t think we should. Every sexual assault, molestation, or rape, is a crime that causes suffering. We should help anyone affected and not grade their experiences.
4. Rape is not gender sensitive and is prevalent in every society on the earth, what can be done to stop it?
The prevalence of rape can decrease if more people make changes within their own hearts. I believe that we can stop and prevent some acts of rape, but I do not believe we will stop rape entirely. I believe rape will exist as long as human beings live on this earth. This is not meant to sound hopeless. I am very hopeful of what can be done and I know more people can heal. I would not keep doing this work and be speaking with you if I did not see real human and spiritual growth within people. But I do believe it is important to be realistic about the world we live in and the evil atrocities that will continue to exist.
Rape is the most prevalent and least reported violent crime throughout the world. The majority of people do not even speak about it, let alone get active and help people affected. Minimal rape crisis centers exist worldwide and too many people don’t want to deal with the realities.
It is believed by some that the second most lucrative illegal business in the world is human trafficking. Billions of dollars are made every year off the sale of human beings who are forced into sexual slavery. In addition, little boys and girls are raped in homes by relatives. People are raped by their spouses. And we know that even some individuals who work in the most trusted public service positions – from law enforcement to religious clergy - rape. How will this stop? I don’t believe it will ever stop, but we can help people in their healing process and we can raise awareness through education.
Education and people intervening if they see something inappropriate is necessary for the prevention of sexual violence. Sadly, many people don’t see the signs of a rape or sexual assault before they occur. If we educate people on some of the signs, we may be able to prevent some crimes. For example, there were many signs of early troubling or inappropriate conduct in the lives of Jim and Chris, who are speakers with individual chapters in To the Survivors. If people around them were educated on the signs and empowered through that education to act, those innocent boys may not have been sexually abused. However, no one noticed, or some noticed but did not intervene, and these boys suffered.
I don’t believe we will ever eradicate rape on this earth, but I believe that we can help people in their healing process and live healthy and productive lives. We can listen to each other, show each other compassion, and empower each other. Too many survivors suffer in silence alone. But I want to tell people that they do not have to suffer in silence. They can heal and they can also help others if they choose to. Our voices are incredibly important and valuable. We can make a real difference in the lives of those who are struggling and suffering. I hope and pray for more of us do that.
Ultimately, rape can stop if human beings stop raping. It is a choice. Sadly, it is a choice that people will continue to commit and many others will continue to not speak of.
5. Would it be right to say that as much as the assaulted is counseled, the aggressor also needs assessment and managing?
So many acts of sexual violence are hidden from others. This, of course, makes assessing and managing a perpetrator exceptionally difficult. How do you assess and manage a person abusing another person when no one knows or speaks about it? This happens too often. The majority of rapists are not arrested, let alone convicted and then sent to prison. And even those who are sent to prison, how long is their prison term? The majority of those convicted come back into our society. Should more be done to manage them? Yes. But the majority of rapists freely walk this earth and commit vile crimes.
I do believe the aggressor needs counseling, but only if the aggressor wants counseling. Sadly, some people commit these crimes with no remorse. I believe remorse and redemption exist for those who want it, but not everyone wants it. If you read all of To the Survivors, you will see that none of the perpetrators showed any true remorse for their crimes.