- What are the normal reactions for a survivor of Sexual Assault?
Survivors of sexual violence may experience different reactions and emotional changes after an assault, some of which can be very intrusive and disruptive. It is very important to understand that there is no right or wrong way for survivors to respond to sexual violence.
These responses include, but are not limited to:
Guilt or self-blame
No one deserves to be raped and it is never your fault – even if you were drinking, wearing sexy clothes, or if you agreed to some sexual activity, like kissing.
Loss of control
You may want to avoid anything that reminds you of the assault. Don’t let avoidance prevent you from getting help.
Nightmares, flashbacks, or constantly thinking about what happened can disturb your concentration, your sleep, even your appetite.
Feelings from a sexual assault can be intense and overwhelming. Most survivors experience a lot of ups and downs in their healing process.
No feeling at all is a feeling that helps many survivors cope with the crisis of a rape.
You might feel angry – at the person who hurt you, the world, yourself, and even people you love. Anger can be an important part of healing.
Any one might experience all or none of the reactions mentioned above. Remember that a lack of visible reactions or physical injuries does not reflect the level of trauma a survivor may be experiencing.
To speak to someone about any of these reactions, or about how you can help your loved one, we have trained hotline operators waiting to talk to you 24 hours a day, every day: (409)835-3355 or 1(800)793-2273 (7WE-CARE). They are also available to help online.