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Effects of Sexual Assault

Effects of Sexual Assault

While the various effects associated with being a survivor of sexual assault can vary depending on the individual and in response to the particular context and relationship within which the assault occurred, some of the more common experiences that survivors of sexual assault might have include:

  • confusion
  • disbelief
  • shock
  • guilt
  • shame
  • self-blame
  • resentment
  • anger
  • dissociation
  • sadness
  • and fear

In looking at the long term impact of sexual assault, the chances that a victim will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are between 50-95%. PTSD can be a debilitating anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive memories or thoughts of the event, extreme anxiety, hypervigilance, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and depression. Counseling can help victims deal with the overwhelming emotions that may follow an assault.

Persons who experience the violence and trauma of sexual assault are encouraged to be survivors in the sense of being persons with dignity and power who rise above the assault.