Is This Sexual Assault?Sexual assault is also called abuse. It is when someone forces you to have sex when you don’t want to have sex or if they try to trick you into having sex, or make you feel bad if you don’t have sex. There is also something called acquaintance rape. This means someone you know forces you to have sex. It could be a friend, a date or someone you work with. Maybe you think a friend or family member has been sexually assaulted. Sometimes you can’t see anything, but you are worried. See if your friend or family member is acting differently. Some of the feelings they may be experiencing could be:
Shock and NumbnessShe might feel dizzy and confused and not know what to do or how to feel.
Loss of ControlShe may feel totally confused and doesn’t know what to do or how to act.
FearShe may be afraid that the person who raped her may come back. She may not feel safe or want to be alone, and may be afraid she will remember the rape over and over.
Guilt and Self-BlameShe may feel like it is all her fault and that she should have done something to stop the rape.
IsolationShe may feel very alone and different from other people. She may feel like everyone is looking at her and they know about the rape. She may be afraid to tell others what has happened.
Vulnerability and DistrustShe may not know what to do, who to trust or how to trust herself. She is very suspicious and careful about everything.
Sexual FearsShe may feel that she will never want to have sex again and that sex won’t be enjoyable. She may feel that if she has sex again, she will always remember the rape.
AngerShe may be very angry at the attacker and very angry at the world because she might not feel safe anymore. She may also be angry with God that he didn’t stop it from happening.
Rape-Related Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderRape-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is something that happens after a person is raped. How do you know if someone has Rape-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
- Fixating on the event: Does the person think about the rape over and over and have nightmares about the rape?
- Social withdrawal: There is something called “psychic numbing.” This is when the person doesn’t feel anything at all. Not happy or sad. No emotions.
- Avoidance behaviors and actions: Is the person avoiding other people? Is the person avoiding certain situations so they won’t remember that they were raped?
- Increased physiological arousal characteristics: Does the person seem to have problems sleeping? Problems concentrating? Easily scared?