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Here to Help

icon for emotional and physical effectsEmotional 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
  • Injuries
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • 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
  • Shock
  • Denial
  • 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)
  • Flashbacks
  • 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
Find support.

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.

Next:  Steps to consider following a sexual assault