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Trauma responses are different for everyone.

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

  • feeling numb

  • not wanting to connect with others or becoming withdrawn from those around you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.

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