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 a victim reacts, their emotions are normal and okay. Male victims, whether abused as children or adults, may experience fear, anger and an overwhelming sense of loss of control over their bodies and themselves. They may experience:

• 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 reactions may fade, but other difficulties may continue for some time. Other long-term reactions include:

• Fear of being alone
• Trouble sleeping, nightmares
• Trouble concentrating
• Depression
• Traumatic impact to sexuality or sexual dysfunction
• Sexual identity concerns
• Aggression
• 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