Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. It can be an extremely traumatic experience, and there are multiple resources available to help you, both on campus and off campus. Some of you may also be looking for ways to help a friend. We highly encourage victims of sexual assault to seek support as soon as they are able to after the assault. Healing is an ongoing process.
Just remember, a victim of sexual assault may experience a variety of negative emotions:
- You may often feel numb, unsafe, regretful, guilty, overwhelmed, fearful, depressed, worthless, panicked, worthy of blame, and even suicidal.
- You may find that you are engaging in riskier behaviors, and are prone to abuse alcohol and other drugs.
- Some survivors may suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome, characterized by extreme depression, panic attacks, sleep problems, flashbacks, irritability, mood swings, intrusive thoughts, and nightmares. These symptoms can continue for months. They are normal reactions to a traumatic event, and can be addressed with therapy.
All of these reactions are normal. Build a strong support network, keep your body healthy, and commit yourself to moving your life forward. Eat regular meals, avoid excessive use of alcohol or other drugs, get daily physical activity and allow regular sleep. And seek support in whatever way feels right to you.