Effects of Rape

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Psychological Effects of Rape
A victim often suffers intense emotional and psychological reactions immediately after a rape. These can be described as personal crises where the victim relives the fear, agony or anxiety, mixed with emotional feelings. For most rape victims, the reactions begin days or weeks after the rape and will sometimes decrease after two to six months. However, disturbing emotions combined with low self-respect and sexual dysfunction may last for a year or more for some. Survivors will likely feel anger, depression, anxiety, and perhaps have a general sense that everything is falling apart. This phase is often marked by recurring nightmares, a generalized feeling of anxiety, and flashbacks to the attack. While these feelings are disturbing, they are a normal reaction to a trauma and are part of the healing process. Often it is at this time that survivors seek assistance from trained professionals who can help to put their lives back together and recover from rape-related post-traumatic stress. Even long after a sexual assault, some reactions may be triggered by people, places or things connected, or seemingly unconnected, to the assault. These are called "triggers" and they are difficult, but common. Defense mechanisms such as denial, suppression and dissociation are common among rape victims. The function of suppression is to block out the strong emotions and thereby escape the painful feelings for a short time which can be psychologically very exhausting. Denying or putting the worst parts of the assault out of the memory allows the rape victims to cope with their altercation. Dissociation is a defense mechanism which can be employed during painful physical or psychological abuse impossible to escape. This technique provides a feeling of "leaving" one's body, making the trauma harder to remember, especially the details. Defense mechanisms like these may affect the victim's ability and motivation to talk about the abuse...
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