If You've Been Assaulted
Sexual Assault can result in trauma that can be severe and long lasting. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, or know of someone who is, the information included here can be helpful
The psychological trauma caused by sexual assault can be severe and long-lasting, or may temporarily affect your mood, concentration, academics, relationships, or physiology. Many K-State students have found it useful to speak with the Center for Advocacy, Response and Education advocate. The advocate provides information and referrals, and will confidentially explore options and possibilities that are right for you. The K-State Center for Advocacy, Response and Education is located in Holton 206 and is SAFEZONE for female and male students. The Center for Advocacy, Response and Education is open 8 to 5, but in an emergency, the advocate can be reached by calling the emergency cell phone (785-458-9080) or calling the K-State police (2-6412) and asking for the Center for Advocacy, Response and Education advocate.
To speak to the advocate, you can call the Center for Advocacy, Response and Education at 532-6444 and set up an appointment or you can just drop by the Center. Holton Hall is just south of Hale Library, and east of Eisenhower Hall.
Your conversations at Center for Advocacy, Response and Education will be confidential; however, under Title XI, any sexual assault crime that might affect the safety of the campus community must be reported to the Office of Institutional Equity: http://www.k-state.edu/care/rights/. Information about legal and police intervention, medical and therapeutic issues, and academic and university assistance is available. There is no need to begin the healing process alone; The Center for Advocacy, Response and Education is here to support you in any way you need.
Common Reactions to Sexual Assault:
- Shock and disbelief: “I feel numb.” “I can’t believe this happened to me.” “I feel disconnected from other people and from my life.” Initially, most sexual assault victims react with shock and disbelief. You may feel numb and dazed, withdrawn and distant from other people. You may want to forget about what happened and avoid people or situations that remind you of the assault.
- Remembering what happened and what it felt like: “Sometimes, I can’t stop thinking about it.” “For weeks, I couldn’t wash away his smell.” “It comes back out of nowhere. I feel like it’s happening all over again.” There may also be periods when you are preoccupied with thoughts and feelings about the assault. You may have unwanted memories or flashbacks and nightmares. When you think about what happened, you might re-experience some of the sensations and feelings you had during the assault, such as fear and powerlessness.
- Intense Emotions: “I feel very sad, like I lost a part of me.” “I have this intense anger that I never felt before.” Many survivors experience intense emotions in the aftermath of a sexual assault. At times, you may feel angry. You may also feel anxious or depressed.
- Physical Symptoms: “I couldn’t sleep through the night. I had trouble falling asleep and then I would wake up every night at the same time that the rape happened.” Some victims have physical symptoms, such as sleep disturbances, headaches, and stomachaches. You may find that it is very difficult to concentrate on routine activities. You may also experience changes in your sexuality, such as a loss of interest in sex or avoidance of sexual situations.
- Feeling fearful: “Every night when I come home, I search my apartment. I look in the closets and under the bed to be sure no one is there.” “I can’t go out alone at night because I am too scared.” Fears about personal safety are an almost universal response to a sexual assault. Survivors often become fearful in situations and places where they were never frightened before. In many sexual assault situations, the victim feels powerless and/or terrified of being killed or seriously harmed. Afterwards, you may continue to feel frightened and vulnerable for awhile.
- Self blame and shame: “I felt like it was my fault, I trusted him…” “I wondered if guys would think I was damaged goods.” Feelings of guilt and shame are also frequent reactions. Because of misconceptions about rape, victims may blame themselves, doubt their own judgment, or wonder if they were in some way responsible for the assault. Feelings of guilt and self-blame may be reinforced by the reactions of others, who, because of prevalent myths about rape, may blame the victim or criticize his or her behavior. You may also feel ashamed. Some victims describe feeling dirty, devalued, and humiliated as a result of a sexual assault. Feelings of shame are sometimes a reaction to being forced by the assailant to participate in the crime.
REMEMBER, RAPE IS A CRIME AND IT IS NEVER YOUR FAULT.