Coping with the aftermath
Coping with anxiety & panic
It is not uncommon for survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse to feel anxious or panicky. When people become anxious they can feel upset, uncomfortable and tense and can get anxious about feeling anxious! Panic attacks can be described as a brief periods of intense fear or discomfort that occur in situations where most people would normally not feel afraid.
Coping with loss & grief
It is normal to feel intense sadness, grief and loss in response to sexual assault. If you are feeling like you are not coping with these feelings it may be helpful to talk to your doctor or counsellor.
Coping with nightmares
People who have experienced sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse may experience nightmares. These may be nightmares about the original abuse or might be dreams with disturbing, violent or frightening themes and images. This is one way your mind might respond to the traumatic events you have gone through.
Dealing with flashbacks
Flashbacks are sudden intrusive memories of past trauma like sexual abuse or assault. They can often include visual images, sounds or bodily sensations experienced at the time of the assault. It is not uncommon for sexual abuse survivors to experience flashbacks as scary and overwhelming and it can be difficult to tell the difference between the memory and the present.
Dealing with shame & self blame
It is important to remember if you have been sexually assaulted that you have not done anything to cause this. Nobody chooses or deserves to be sexually abused. The responsibility for the abuse lies completely with the offender. They have made the decision to abuse and are solely responsible for what they do. Remember sexual assault is a crime.