Rape is a heinous crime that can cause severe trauma to the victim. Rape Crisis Syndrome, also known as Rape Trauma Syndrome, is a psychological response to rape that can affect the victim's mental and physical well-being.
The symptoms of Rape Crisis Syndrome can vary from person to person, but some common ones include shock, disbelief, fear, anger, guilt, shame, and depression. Victims may experience flashbacks, nightmares, and difficulty sleeping, as well as physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and muscle tension.
Some phases of Rape Crisis Syndrome can include:
The Acute Phase: This phase lasts a few days to several weeks. Initial reactions during this phase may be highly emotional such as crying spells, anxiety attacks, being agitated or hysterical. On the other hand someone may act as if nothing has happened, which is typical of shock. A survivor may also be so disoriented that they can’t believe the assault happened, or they may have poor memory of what happened.
The Outward Adjustment Phase: During this phase, the survivor may be trying to resume normal life, but it is difficult due to issues still tied to the assault. Some survivors might minimize what happened to them, or obsess about it. They might try to suppress, rationalize what happened to them as a way to make sense of the senseless act that happened to them. Symptoms of PTSD may be present during this phase.
3. The Resolution Phase: During this phase, the assault is not the central focus in the survivor’s life. This doesn’t mean they will forget what happened to them, but they have been able to heal and move on. Not all survivors get to this phase, however it is possible for any survivor to get to this phase.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of rape, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Here are some steps you can take:
1. Seek medical attention: It is crucial to get medical attention as soon as possible after a rape. A medical professional can examine you for injuries, test for sexually transmitted infections, and provide emergency contraception if necessary.
2. Report the rape: It is important to report the rape to the authorities. This can help bring the perpetrator to justice and prevent them from harming others. You can also contact a rape crisis center for support and guidance.
3. Seek counseling: Counseling can help you deal with the emotional trauma of rape. A mental health professional can help you work through your feelings and develop coping strategies.
4. Practice self-care: It is important to take care of yourself after a rape. This can include getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in activities you enjoy.
5. Join a support group: Joining a support group can help you connect with others who have experienced similar trauma. This can provide a sense of community and support.
Rape Crisis Syndrome is a serious condition that requires professional help. By seeking medical attention, reporting the rape, seeking counseling, practicing self-care, and joining a support group, you can begin to heal and move forward. Remember, you are not alone, and there is help available.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault and would like treatment to move forward, reach out to Amy Groven, LMFT at Amygrovenlmft@gmail.com. Amy can teach you to calm your body, have a better connection to it, and move forward in your life.