Understanding the impact that sexual trauma can have on us can be overwhelming and at times, distressing. We've listed a few common reactions to sexual trauma that often survivors have and where to get support if you experience either.
Initial reactions to trauma can include exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, agitation, numbness, dissociation, confusion, physical arousal, and blunted effect.
Other common reactions are:
feeling as if you are in a state of ‘high alert’ and are ‘on watch’ for anything else that might happen
feeling emotionally numb, as if in a state of ‘shock’
becoming emotional and upset
feeling extremely fatigued and tired
feeling very stressed and/or anxious
being very protective of others including family and friends
not wanting to leave a particular place for fear of ‘what might happen’
reduced concentration and memory
intrusive thoughts about the event
repeatedly playing parts of the event over in the mind
confusion or disorientation
fear, anxiety and panic
shock – difficulty believing in what has happened, feeling detached and confused
not wanting to connect with others or becoming withdrawn from those around you
continuing alarm – feeling like the danger is still there or the event is continuing
let-down – after the crisis is over, exhaustion may become obvious. Emotional reactions to the event are felt during the let-down phase, and include depression, avoidance, guilt, oversensitivity, and withdrawal.