Feelings after sexual violence and coping strategies

Everyone reacts differently to a traumatic event. Whatever you feel is a natural response to what has happened. Some examples are below. But you might feel none of these. Whatever you feel, it is important to get support contact us

If you have been attacked recently you may be in shock.

This can mean that you are feeling numb, unemotional, be in total disbelief, be crying, shaking, laughing or physically being sick.

  • You may feel to blame and responsible for what has happened.
  • You may be having nightmares or experiencing difficulties sleeping.
  • You may be “reliving” the events (flashbacks), these can be triggered by a sound, situation or smell and can be very frightening
  • You may have lost confidence, trust in yourself and others.
  • You may be feeling worthless or have feelings of self-hatred.
  • You may be finding it difficult to cope with day-to-day life.
  • You may be feeling angry, irritable and be short-tempered with those close to you.
  • You may feel dirty and ashamed about what has happened.
  • You may be depressed, upset and tearful a lot of the time.
  • You may feel suicidal.
  • You may be afraid, for example of people, places, or being on your own.
  • You may be experiencing relationship or sexual difficulties.

It is important to ask for help if you are feeling any of these things.

Take things at your own pace. There is no right or wrong about how long it can take to come to terms with something like this.

It can be hard to look after ourselves when we are going through a traumatic time, but it is important to try to eat and sleep as well as you can. Everything can seem much harder to cope with when you are tired and run down.

You don’t have to cope alone.

Share your thoughts and feelings about your experience with a trusted friend or family member, partner or another survivor.

‘I just froze’ is a Rape Crisis Scotland public awareness campaign, which aims to challenge and change common misconceptions that there is a right or wrong way for people to react during or after a rape.

Contact the centre for support and information

Rape Crisis Scotland have produced these twelve new leaflets offering information, tips and links on Self-harm, Dissociation, Sexual health, Flashbacks, Suicidal thoughts & feelings, Anger, Healing from sexual violence, Trauma, Nightmares & sleep problems, Panic attacks, Relationships, and Coping after sexual violence.