The recent surge in the awareness of sexual violence in Nigeria is a welcome development, as any form of violence is a serious public health concern. In 2014, a Violence Against Children Survey reported that approximately 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 10 boys experience rape before the age of 18 years. Statistics from Pan African Medical Journal report in 2016 further reiterated that females (93.9%) are more likely to suffer sexual assault than males (6.1%).
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that occurs as a result of experiencing a traumatic or violent event and about half of rape victims suffer from PTSD (British Medical Journal study, 2015). Providing a significant link between sexual violence and PTSD is a study conducted at the University of Calabar in 2019. The study stated that 47% of respondents suffer from PTSD as a result of rape, although only 60% believe that rape exposes victims to PTSD. Following the high prevalence of PTSD due to sexual violence, it is important to note that delayed onset is very common and some associated symptoms include shock, flashbacks, emotional numbness and hypervigilance.
With more rape victims recalling past traumatic events across social media platforms, do you agree that PTSD is common and what are the impact on Nigerians? How best can sexual violence victims manage PTSD? Could PTSD due to sexual violence be the cause of the increased suicide rate nationally?