Reactions to a sexual assault

In Sexual Assault Awareness on January 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Immediately following a sexual assault, many survivors might hesitate to call anything ‘normal.’  As it might stand the ‘normal’ friend that you’ve had since elementary school might have just violated you; the ‘normal’ Friday night party might have been the location of the trauma; or the ‘normal’ phone call to a best friend detailing a first date might be tearfilled.

That being said, many surviors ask if their reactions to the assault are normal.  Is it ‘normal’ that I was joking and laughing with the nurse who performed the forensic exam?  Is it ‘normal’ that I still care for the person who did this to me?  Is it ‘normal’ that now I don’t trust anyone?  The answer to these questions is that there is no normal.  Just as there is no set amount of time to grieve for a loved one who passed away, there is no normal amount of time to grieve for those things taken from you because of an assault.

Survivors and their loved ones react countless ways after an assault; the point of counseling is to figure out if their reactions are healthy or unhealthy and to learn new ways of coping.  For instance, it’s very normal for a survivor to abuse drugs or alcohol to avoid the feelings that an assault has left them with; however, substance abuse is not a healthy way of recovering from the trauma.

And throughout your recovery you can regain a new sense of what’s normal and healthy for you.


“Coping with Sexual Assault:  A Guide for Professionals and Volunteers Working with Sexual Assault Victims” copyrighted by Sugati Publications at www.SugatiPublications.com



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