Sexual assault is a terrible event that can shake the entire belief system of the victim. Often victims know their assailant, as was the case with Alex. Because the victim often knows the aggressor, the victim is left to wonder what went wrong, if there was anything that he or she could have done to have prevented the incident from happening. The lasting effects of sexual assault are inevitable for the victim. The victim will often feel shame for what happened, as if there was something he or she could have done to avoid the situation. Abuse like this is never the victim’s fault and although there are some very devastating effects to sexual assault, they can be overcome.
Victims of sexual assault may feel:
- guilt and shame for what happened
- feel helpless and hopeless (a sort of ‘who cares’ attitude)
- turn to alcohol or drugs to numb the pain
- have problems with personal relationships
- uncomfortable in large groups
- fall behind in school work, miss assignment, skip class
- avoid people and groups
- develop phobias
- high level of fear and/or nervousness
- mood swings
- acting out
- trouble sleeping
- physical problems / health issues
That’s a pretty long list of effects of sexual assault and that’s not even a complete list. Every person is different so it’s impossible to know what a victim will go through. It’s important to get help for what you’re going through so you can start to heal the damage that was done. It’s never the victim’s fault and as hard as it is, the victim has to be strong and get through this. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for help. I know I’ll be ready if Alex needs me. I won’t let you down again Alex, I promise.