Common Reactions

  • Emotional reactions can vary considerably from person to person with some feeling fear, sadness or anger. There is not one way of responding emotionally to sexual or interpersonal violence.
  • Other people may experience a sense of numbness.
  • Many people experience shock or disbelief, or even denial.
  • Many people have reported feeling a loss of control or a feeling of helplessness.
  • Many people blame themselves for things they did or did not do.
  • Most people cannot remember the entire story, may have blotchy memories, or complete gaps of memory. This is a normal response to something that is traumatic, highly stressful, unexpected, and confusing.
  • All of these reactions are normal.
  • After an experience of sexual violence, dating violence or stalking, you might be experiencing some of the following normal responses:
    • Guilt, fear or self blame
    • Fear of being blamed by others
    • Intense feelings of sadness, anger, or fear
    • Confusion, denial or memory difficulties
    • Feelings of numbness
    • Wanting to avoid talking about this or going places that are reminders
    • Having difficulty trusting others
    • Having difficulty in school, work and/or relationships

     

MYTH

FACT

Rapes only occur by strangers.

Eighty-five percent of all rapes occur by someone the survivor knows.

If the survivor was drinking, it is their fault.

More than 50 percent of all experiences of sexual violence include alcohol and drugs by one or both of the parties. Many rapists will use alcohol and drugs as a weapon to make the survivor more vulnerable.

Rape cannot occur if the people are (or were) dating.

More than half of all rapes occur in a dating or previously dating relationship.

Rape only happens to women.

Sexual violence is about power and domination, and can be experienced by all people, regarding of sexual or gender identity.