General Effects

Anger towards yourself and/or to others.

Boundaries – find it difficult setting boundaries both emotional(e.g. keeping certain information private) and physical (e.g. having a say in where you want to be touched).

Control – being very controlling for example having certain ways to do the washing up or certain places for your stuff. You didn’t have control over your body so you try and get the control back. Eating disorders in survivors are common because you can have control over your body with what food goes in and out.

Disassociation – when the mind distances itself from the experience and sometimes the body because it is too much to process. This is a coping mechanism and it can be the only way for survivors to function at first, but it can lead to loss of connection with memories, thoughts, feelings, actions or self-identity).

Everyday triggers – these will be specific to you, they will be certain smells, tastes, sounds, characteristics, images, behaviours that remind you of the abuse or rape.

Fairness – when people say life isn’t fair it really irritates me, we know it’s not fair from the victim-blaming in our society and how not everyone is equal. Sometimes, we will try to enforce fairness on everything around us.

Flashbacks – memories of the rape/abuse.

Grieving/Mourning – abuse will mean a loss of certain things such as a childhood, normal relationship with family members and innocence. Sadness towards how you have treated yourself or let others treat you as a result of the abuse.

Guilt, Shame and Blame – guilt because you didn’t stop the abuse/rape or experienced pleasure. Shame because abuse/rape is seen as an embarrassing topic by society. Many survivors blame themselves for the abuse/rape. Self-blame can be used to protect ourselves, away of feeling in control of the situation. See – Also apparently there is a good chapter on self-blame in the book ‘Trauma and Recovery’ by Judith Lewis Herman.

Justice – very few survivors get justice against their attacker which can be really difficult to cope with.

Mental Health problems – depression, anxiety, eating disorders, alcoholic, drug addict, bipolar disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD – when someone has experienced an extreme or prolonged stress, symptoms include depression, sleep disturbances, flashbacks or erratic mood swings) For more information. –

Poor body image – because the body was the focus of the sexual abuse and rape, or the abuser criticising your body is common.

Poor concentration – because your body will be in a state of alert and will be looking out for danger, this will be higher than people that haven’t been abused or raped, and means you struggle with concentrating on other things.

Proving yourself – if you don’t feel 100% believed from the attack or abuse, you feel you have to prove yourself in all other aspects of life, e.g. proving that you have bought that bus ticket.

Revictimization – many survivors find themselves in abusive, dangerous situations or relationships.

Self-esteem/self-hatred – negative messages said to you from the abuser.

Sex – avoiding intimacy with a partner or having a number of sexual partners ( – helpful article).

Sexual ‘numbness’ – the outcome of a child willing their body to become numb against arousal.

Sleep – difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, night terrors, waking up, oversleeping.

Touch – can trigger memories, sensations and unwanted sexual fantasies of the abuse/rape.

Trust – can be really hard to trust people.


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