Rape: How to get out of the shock and deal with the trauma
Rape does not only physically harm you but also psychologically. There are many short- and long-term effects of sexual assault and rape that affect the mind, body, and spirit. Therefore in most of the cases, the victim goes through a shock and trauma. It is always important to open up to a close friend or family member and talk. Because keeping everything inside can actually affect the victim’s mental health. Many people who go through traumatic events may find that it can take some time to re-adjust and cope for a period after the event.
The residual mental, physical and spiritual effects of sexual assault and rape can permeate the daily lives of survivors, which make it difficult to heal. For example, a physical reaction to trauma such as self-injury can be the result of depression. Some of the common mental effects of sexual assault and rape are PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event.
Some common symptoms associated with PTSD are flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while. But with time and support, such traumatic reactions usually get better. Depression is more than common feelings of temporary sadness. Symptoms can include prolonged sadness, feelings of hopelessness, unexplained crying, and changes in appetite with significant weight loss or gain, loss of energy or loss of interest and pleasure in activities previously enjoyed. Depression can affect a person’s outlook, which can lead to feelings of hopelessness. This, in turn, can impact his or her thought process and ability to make decisions. In extreme cases of depression, people may even experience suicidal thoughts and/or attempts.
Lastly, Dissociation usually refers to feeling like one has “checked out” or is not present. In some instances of dissociation, people may find themselves daydreaming. But in situations where dissociation is chronic and more complex, it may impair an individual’s ability to function in the “real” world, such as not being able to focus on work related duties or being able to concentrate on schoolwork. Other spiritual and emotional effects of trauma include changes in how we view trust, anger, and blame, shock, numbness, loss of control, disorientation, helplessness, sense of vulnerability, fear, self-blame/guilt for “allowing” the crime to happen and feeling that these reactions are a sign of weakness. In some cases, the best solution to minimize the effects of rape and sexual assault is to always talk to someone especially a professional for instance a counselor.