Effects of Sexual Violence

Sexual violence 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 managed. Learning more can help you find the best form of care to begin the healing process.

Depression

There are many emotional and psychological reactions that victims of rape and sexual assault can experience. One of the most common of these is depression.

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Flashbacks

During a flashback, memories of past traumas feel as if they are taking place in the current moment.

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

After a traumatic event, it is typical to have feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear, making it difficult to adjust or cope for some time afterwards.

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  • Self-Harm - Deliberate self-harm, or self-injury, is when a person inflicts physical harm on himself or herself, usually in secret. 
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections - A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is a bacterial or viral infection passed from one person to another through vaginal, anal, or oral contact.
  • Substance Abuse - If you are concerned that you’re using substances in a way that could be harmful to your health or have concerns for someone you care about, consider learning more about the warning signs and places to find support.
  • Dissociation - Dissociation is one of the many defense mechanisms the brain can use to cope with the trauma of sexual violence.

  • Eating Disorders - Sexual violence can affect survivors in many ways, including perceptions of the body and feelings of control.
  • Pregnancy - If you were recently raped, you may have concerns about becoming pregnant from the attack.
  • Sleep Disorders - Symptoms of sleep disorders can include trouble falling or staying asleep, sleeping at unusual times of day, or sleeping for longer or shorter than usual.
  • Suicide - Suicide is preventable and suicidal thoughts aren’t permanent. If you are thinking about suicide, there are resources to give you the support you need to get through this tough time.

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