Surviving the Emotional Impact of Sexual Violence

Everyone experiences the impact of sexual violence in their own way. There is no right or wrong way to react to the trauma.

Below are some common experiences of survivors. You may not experience them at any specific time, in any specific order, or at all. Time, support from family or friends and/or therapy may help in the healing process.

  • You may feel very emotional at times, feel detached or numb.
  • You may feel sad, depressed or angry.
  • It may be difficult to keep up with your everyday activities.
  • You may feel like no one believes you.
  • You might feel like everyone knows about what happened.
  • You may find it harder to be intimate with people.
  • You may have difficulty interacting with others
  • You may be afraid of being alone.
  • You may experience physical reactions: body aches, headaches, muscle cramps, and/or tension.
  • You may have nightmares and feel like you are reliving the assault.
  • You may experience changes in eating or sleeping.
  • You may blame yourself for what happened.

No matter how it may feel, the assault/abuse was not your fault!


The healing process can take time. You need to listen to your mind and body to see what will be best to help you take care of you!

Take The Time To Care For Yourself:

  • Stay with supportive family or friends for a few days.
  • Take time off from your work or school.
  • Take care of yourself physically and emotionally.
  • Try some different things to do that help you relax.
  • Express your feelings in a safe way like
    • Writing (letters, poems, journal)
    • Drawing
    • Exercise
    • Punching pillows
    • Talking to a counselor, therapist, or friend.
  • Contact SACASA to start therapy. We offer individual, couples, family & group therapy.
  • And most importantly: Be patient with yourself.

Some Ways to Relax

(Remember- it can be different for everyone. Do what works best for you.)

  • Take a bubble bath (maybe even burn some candles & listen to soothing music while you soak!).
  • Watch happy movies.
  • Read a good book.
  • Hang out with friends.
  • Pamper your body (massage therapy, essential oils, aromatherapy).
  • Take walks with a friend.
  • Keep a journal.

Your friends and family may not know what to say or how to react to help you.
Be direct. Tell them what you need or don’t need from them. Refer them to the “Helpful Information for Friends and Family” section that talks about how your friends & family can help. Remember: you know what is best for you.