OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Possible reactions following sexual assault

Every survivor experiences the consequences of sexual assault in their own unique manner. Many survivors have reported feelings of severe emotional and physical violation, which affected many areas of their lives. Some effects may be noticed immediately, while other effects may show up later. Reactions often include:

  • Fear, loss of trust
  • Disbelief, denial, shock, numbness
  • Shame and humiliation
  • Depression, sadness, anger, self-blame
  • Changes in sexual behaviors and comfort with sex
  • Loss of a sense of control, helplessness
  • Changes in relationships with other people

 

How Long Will it Take to Get Over This?

Survivors often feel overwhelmed and lost as a result of sexual assault. Although there are no exact time limits to recovery, the good news is that survivors CAN recover. Talking about experiences and feelings with someone is one part of recovery. Survivors have the right and the power to regain control of their lives. Remember, sexual assault is NEVER the fault of the survivor. Even if you believe you could have avoided the situation you are not responsible: if your choices were taken away, so was your responsibility.