Here to Help: Emotional and physical effects
Emotions are expected.
Sexual violence, dating and domestic violence, and stalking are significant and can be traumatizing. Though each person's experience is unique, there are a wide range of emotions that may be felt over the days, weeks, months and even years following a traumatic experience. These reactions may change over time and it may be helpful to address them with the assistance of a counselor or therapist.
Possible physical effects
- Pain and soreness
- Panic attacks
- Sleep pattern disturbances, insomnia or sleeping more than usual
- Loss of appetite or change in eating habits (overeating or under-eating)
Possible psychological and emotional effects
- Impaired memory
- Irritability and anger, sadness and grief, social withdrawal, numbing
- Apathy (detachment, loss of caring)
- Overwhelming emotions
- Hypervigilance (always on guard)
- Easily startled (jumpiness)
- Sleep disturbance (including nightmares)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of self-esteem
- Loss of trust in self or others
- Guilt, shame or embarrassment
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- Diminished interest in activities or sex
- Increased interest in sexual activity
Contact a close friend, relative or advocate who can provide support and be present during a medical exam and/or at the police department, should you choose to go. Advocates from the Center for Advocacy, Response and Education, or CARE, are available to provide a range of support following an assault.