Each person responds in their own unique way after a sexual assault. If you have been
the victim of a sexual assault and are feeling like your world is spinning out of control,
you do not have to suffer in silence. Know that there are many common and normal
reactions after a sexual assault.
Sexual assault can have psychological, emotional, and physical effects on a survivor. These
effects aren’t always easy to deal with, but with the right help and support they can be
improved. Learning more can help you find the best form of care to begin the healing process.
PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Continued feelings of Anxiety, Stress, or Fear that simply will not go away can be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is one of the most common victim reactions to sexual assault. At the time of the assault, most victims have an overwhelming experience of fear – of being physically injured or even of being killed. This can and oftentimes does carryover after the trauma has stopped. Common symptoms of PTSD include:
Being afraid to go anywhere that the attacker might be. Feeling anxious all the time. Stressed with even the smallest of tasks.
Fear responses associated with the assault (to certain sights, sounds, smells, thoughts, etc.) can persists for weeks, months, or even years. Victims who have been assaulted typically avoid anything which reminds them of the assault (places, situations, people, etc.). Some people become so fearful that they greatly restrict their activities, even to the point that they are unable to leave their homes or to be left alone.
Another reaction to a sexual assault is the feeling of helplessness. Some common types of responses are:
Feel helpless to stop the assault. Feeling hopeless about the present. Feel hopeless about whether anything can be done in the future.
Some survivors of sexual assault may use self-harm to cope with difficult or painful feelings.
If you are contemplating self-harm or have already done it, please seek caring therapeutic care immediately.
A common symptom sexual assault victims experience, is the re-experience of the event. This horrible symptom is called a flashback. Sexual assault victims re-experience the assault over and over again in their thoughts and in their dreams. These flashbacks make you feel like the assault is happening all over again. Proper psychological counseling can lessen the occurrence and intensity of flashbacks.
One of the most common reactions after a sexual assault is depression. Feelings of unrelenting sadness and unhappiness, that prevent you from living life the way you did before the sexual assault, may indicate that you are suffering from depression. Depression can include feelings of hopelessness and despair. You may having frequent unprovoked crying spells or even contemplating suicide. Losing interest in daily activities that you used to enjoy is a sign of depression.
Survivors of sexual abuse sometimes turn to alcohol or drugs to deaden their senses and ease the pain. A qualified mental health practitioner can put you on the road to recovery.
A very common symptom after a sexual assault, is not being able to stay focused on the task at hand. Trouble concentrating is a common refrain from survivors. This ability to stay focused can feel frustrating and add to the sense of loss of control.
Guilty feelings after an assault, can come in many forms:
Blaming yourself for the sexual assault. Thinking of how you somehow provoked the assault. Shame of being violated.
The feeling of not being clean, inside or out is feeling shared by many after a sexual assault. It is common for people to may take repeated showers in an attempt to feel “clean” after the attack.
Disruptions in Close Relationships
In the aftermath of a sexual assault, you may want to stay at home or just lay in your bed watching TV, alone. Friendships, family and relationships will likely suffer because of this. Although this is normal, you proper counseling can help you get your life back.
Loss of Interest in Intimate Contact
After someone has gone through sexual assault, they generally do not want anyone to touch them. Most importantly, all of these reactions are normal responses to the traumatic event you have gone through. It will take time and proper treatment to regain the feeling of confidence and power over your body.
To speak privately with Nadia, call her today at 702.385.1600
Nadia has encouraged victims to pursue their cases in civil court. Whether taking on a culpable individual or corporation, Nadia has used the civil court system to send strong messages that result in serious changes.
Contact Nadia Immediately.
Call Nadia today at (702) 385-1600 or fill out our form for a free consultation about your case. Nadia will personally respond to your email or call.