What people don’t tell you about the consequences of rape and sexual assault

  1. Panic attacks
    The survivors of sexual assault and rape often have to deal with panic attacks even years afterwards. But what is a panic attack?
    A panic attack is an overwhelming feeling that takes over and can hit you in every situation that does not feel 100% comfortable. You have a feeling of losing control over yourself and your reactions. You feel paralysed and being crashed by an avalanche of negative emotions. Shaking, being jumpy and maybe crying is the part that the other people see but what you feel is a fight. A battle over happiness, a battle over control, a battle over emotions that overcome your whole being. Pictures you thought you’ve processed come back to your mind and ruin a situation that was meant to be beautiful. Often it just strikes out of the blue without any warning. A racing heart, a choking feeling, feeling unreal and detached from your surroundings. Every feeling is contracting in your chest, going up your throat and building a big lump in it. Feeling out of breath, not being able to talk.
    But how do you get out of them?
    You need to ask yourself what exactly the triggers are that cause a panic attack that sets you back to the incidents. Then try to avoid situations where it’s possible to be triggered. When you have some time for yourself ask yourself what is it that makes you feel content, calm and happy? Is it a looking at beautiful flowers? Hiking? The forest? Stargazing? It can be whatever, it just needs to be something that symbolises peace, calmness and safety for you. Practice imagining this symbol, just like meditating. Then when a panic attack hits you try to sit down, close your eyes, pet your arms slowly and softly with your hands and concentrate on this symbol until the lump in your throat is loosening and you’re feelingDSC_0119 calm again. Tell yourself that you are safe. Tell yourself that you are okay. Tell yourself that you are normal because that is what you are. You are not what happened to you.
  2. The Talk
    No one tells you that you probably have to talk to your partner or soon-to-be partner about what happened to you. Even if you don’t do it there will probably come a moment where you do not react like other people would do behind closed doors. You have experienced a terrible and awful thing and it’s absolutely normal that you do not enjoy everything like you used to before or like other people enjoy it. If you are still afraid of having Sex with somebody then you do not need to do it. There is no rush. It is your body and your mental health. But you’ll probably come to the point where your partner should know, at least kind of, what happened to you in order to react the right way or in case you have a panic attack. If your partner knows these things your partner can even help you to cope with it.
    No one tells you that if you hook up with someone that it’s possible that you suddenly feel uncomfortable out of nowhere and that you feel like leaving or that you might just run away. So every time before it gets to a point like that the survivors have to ask themselves if they should tell their partner about it or not since we do not want to put a person in a situation like that if it was not their fault at all.
    Do not feel ashamed to talk about it, do not feel abnormal. It can happen to everyone and I’m sorry to say that but if your partner cannot deal with this and cannot be there for you or is even victim-blaming then you should not see that person again. You went through horrible things and you do not need such negativity in your life.
  3. Rape in relationships
    Most survivors experienced rape in a relationship or with someone from the inner circle.
    Rape happens in relationships. If you tell your partner to stop or that you do not want to sleep with him/her then your partner has to respect that. If your partner does not respect it then it is rape. When someone from your inner circle does you wrong like this the survivor mostly does not start a physical fight. First of all, you would have never thought that this person would do this to you since you trusted him/her and that is your right. It is your right to trust people from your surroundings. It is okay that you did not start a physical fight or that you only said “stop” or “no” because with what right does someone touches your body or even puts something inside of it if you don’t want it? It’s still rape. It’s not non-consensual sex because there is sex and there is rape and if you don’t want somebody to touch you or sleep with you then it’s rape. You do not have PTSD for no reason. It doesn’t matter if you started a fight with your perpetrator or not because your PTSD is not lying, your feelings are not lying to you. This person did destroy a part of your soul and it wouldn’t have been different if you had screamed or hit or kicked that person because the rapist would not care anyway. A rapist only cares about power, his needs and satisfaction. A rapist does not care about you and would not care if you started a fight, most of the time. And it could have ended even messier or even more dangerous if you had fought physically.
  4. Feeling paralysed
    As I started to explain the reaction of yours is normal even if you did not fight. You did not want to have Sex or be touched and someone forced it on you anyway.
    Lots of survivors talk about the feeling of being paralysed.
    People need to understand that in a situation that harms you your inner instincts are to flee, freeze or fight. But normally your body’s sympathetic system chooses the instinct of freeze, being paralysed. You just block your surroundings out, you’re not able to speak or think anymore till the situation is over because that is how you can survive. It’s a protective mechanism of your brain and therefore it’s absolutely normal!
  5. People will make you feel like a victim
    When you finally decide to talk about everything then there will be lots of people that make you feel like a victim even though all you want to do is feeling normal, being like everyone else.
    People don’t do this to make you feel bad! There are good people out there and they just cannot believe that someone would hurt a rose like you, that someone could ever harm a beautiful soul as yours. Don’t let them make you feel like a victim because you are a survivor. You survived something that was meant to destroy you and yet here you are reading this, breathing, being alive. Tell these people that you are not what happened to you and that you might be more sensitive about some things now but you are not a completely different person, you just went through hell yet you came out alive and that is what makes a survivor out of you, not a victim.
  6. Feeling hopeless
    There will be times when you feel hopeless and blue. Times when you want to give up on everything, times when you think you cannot cope with all these things.
    But guess what? That is normal, that just means that you do have feelings in an ice-cold and fast moving world and that my dear, that is a beautiful thing.
    There are always little things in life that can make you smile and can dry your tears, even if it’s only reading a book, going for a walk or listening to your favourite artist. Hold onto those little things that are actually the biggest things when it comes to happiness. You will feel hopeless but always remind yourself of the good things in life.
    After darkness comes always light and without darkness light would not even exist.
    That’s life and your life goes on and you will handle this sadness and you will get through it. You are stronger than you think. Just take all the time you need to lick your wounds.SorayaCF071884
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