HistoryDecember 20, 2010
Minnesota National Guard
Impact of Sexual Assault
Impact of Sexual Assault

Symptoms of sexual abuse include:
  • Nightmares and flashbacks
  • Changes in appetite
  • Reduced concentration
  • Feelings of shame and self-blame
  • Excessive concern about security of your environment
  • Mood swings
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and enjoyable activities
  • Increased use of alcohol, nicotine and other drugs
  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the incident
  • Feeling sad, lonely, betrayed or hopeless about the future
  • Fear of going to places that may cause disturbing memories of the incident
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from others, physically and emotionally
34ID Band Twins Appreciation Day
Possible Impact on Relationships

Conflicts - Sometimes the sexual assault increases the potential for conflicts between the victim and those closest to him/her. Changes in mood or behavior may occur and friends/relatives may not know how to respond. They may be afraid of saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing and make things worse. On the other hand, they may not understand the impact on the victim and have unrealistic expectations on how someone should go through the healing process.

- Some sexual assault victims feel numb, depressed, or isolated from people they love. Their feelings about what happened can make it hard for them to be close or "emotionally available" to others. This reaction may make victims appear cold or unfeeling to those who care about them. Sometimes alcohol and/or drug abuse becomes a problem for a victim of sexual assault. Friends, family, or co-workers may become angry or impatient with a sexual assault victim for not being his or her "usual self," so they may withdraw from the victim or seem to punish him or her in other ways. Others may try to make the victim "snap out of it," perhaps by smothering him or her with attention and well-intentioned suggestions.

Fear of Intimacy
- Sexual assault can make it harder to achieve intimacy. Some victims prefer not to be touched for awhile. This can cause a partner or spouse to feel confused, sad, angry, or hurt. A partner or spouse may also become frustrated by the rejection of their desire to be physically close to the victim. It may take time and professional help for couples to work their way through the effects of the assault and reestablish intimacy.