Many men and women who have experienced rape or sexual assault report feelings like these. It is not unusual. Try to allow yourself time to experience these feelings – they are your body’s natural response in your situation. However painful they may be, denying them is not helpful in the long run.

  • Emotional Shock: I feel numb. How can I be so calm? Why can’t I cry?
  • Disbelief and/or Denial: Did it really happen? Why me? Maybe I just imagined it. It wasn’t really rape.
  • Embarrassment: What will people think? I can’t tell my family or friends.
  • Shame: I feel completely filthy, like there’s something wrong with me. I can’t get clean.
  • Guilt: I feel as if it’s my fault, or I should’ve been able to stop it. If only I had…
  • Depression: How am I going to get through the day? I’m so tired! I feel so hopeless. Maybe I’d be better off dead
  • Powerlessness: Will I ever feel in control again?
  • Disorientation: I don’t even know what day it is, or where I’m supposed to be. I keep forgetting things.
  • Flashbacks: I keep re-living the assault. I keep seeing that face and feeling like it’s happening all over again.
  • Fear: I’m scared of everything. What if I have STDs or AIDS? I can’t sleep because I’ll have nightmares. I’m afraid to go out. I’m afraid to be alone.
  • Anxiety: I’m having panic attacks. I can’t breathe. I can’t stop shaking. I feel overwhelmed.
  • Anger: I feel like killing the person who attacked me!
  • Physical Stress: My stomach (or head or back) aches all the time. I feel jittery and don’t feel like eating.