What Do Victims Feel?

It is important for you not to judge a victim's response. One victim may react very emotionally and another may act extremely calm. No matter how victims react, their emotions are normal and okay. Following are some common and immediate reactions to sexual victimization:

• Crying, sobbing
• Shaking
• Laughter due to shock
• Denial
• Feelings of fear, anger, shame
• Self-blame
• Feelings of guilt and helplessness
• Abrupt mood changes
• Embarrassment

Over time, these immediate reactions may fade, but other emotions and difficulties may continue for sometime throughout a victim's recovery. Other long-term reactions include:

• Fear of being alone
• Fear of the dark
• Trouble sleeping, nightmares
• Trouble concentrating
• Depression
• Fear and dislike of sex
• Trust issues in relationships
• Flashbacks of the assault
• Anxiety
• Drug or alcohol abuse
• Engaging in high risk behaviors
• Suicidal thoughts

Remember, help is available for victims
and their loved ones during all phases
of recovery.

For more information, contact your local rape crisis center or call the Information Line: 1-888-956-RAPE