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Long Term Affects of Rape

Rape is a violent act that can have long lasting affects on its survivors.

Depression, anxiety, worry, nightmares, anger and flashbacks are all common reactions to being raped. A flashback is a memory of the rape that is so realistic it seems as if it is happening all over again.

Flashbacks can be very difficult to go through. If you are experiencing flashbacks the following may be helpful in getting yourself through them.

  • Concentrate on what is going on now. Remind yourself where you are and that you are safe. Find something to remind yourself of the present. Hold on to something or concentrate on a noise you can hear like the TV or the radio.
  • Remind yourself that this is a flashback and that you can get through this. It is not happening again. You are safe now.
  • Find a safe place and go there. If you feel safest under the covers in bed go there. If you feel safest in a hot bath, take one.
  • Call a rape crisis hotline or a good friend to talk about what you are experiencing.
Some people find it helpful to make a list of things that help them get through flashbacks and keep the list with them or next to their bed etc. That way when they have a flashback they do not have to try and think of something to do, they have a list right there.

If calling a friend or a rape crisis center is on your list it is helpful to have those numbers right on the list as well. A counselor may help you better understand flashbacks and find ways that help you cope with them.

Jacqueline P. Sweeney-Mance, MA

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