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Many rape and sexual assault victims suffer from Rape Related PTSD and the disorders listed below. Immediate reactions can be either expressive or subdued.
The four major symptoms of Rape-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are:
The most common long term effects of sexual assault and rape are the invisible ones. The immediate symptoms of rape trauma include having unpredictable and intense emotions. The victim may have an exaggerated startle response (jumpy), may have memories and intrusive thoughts about the assault, nightmares, difficulty sleeping and difficulty concentrating. The long term psychological effects of rape can include PTSD and rape trauma syndrome (RTS), OCD, DID, Eating Disorders, Self Injury, Self blame, Panic attacks, Flashbacks, Body memories and Sleeping disorders. Unfortunately in many cases these effects can be life long if the victim does not get immediate support and care. Some people mask these symptoms in order to cope with society.
According to NCPTSD: "Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a common reaction following sexual assault.
Symptoms of MDD can include a depressed mood, an inability to enjoy things, difficulty sleeping, changes in patterns of sleeping and eating, problems in concentration and decision-making, feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and decreased self-esteem."
"NVAWS strongly confirms the negative mental health and social costs of rape victimization. Of those raped since age 18, 33 percent of the female rape victims and 24.2 percent of the male victims said they received counseling from a mental health professional as a direct result of their most recent rape ... The survey found that 19.4 percent of the female victims and 9.7 percent of the male victims raped as adults said their victimization caused them to lose time from work." National Violence Against Women Survey
Learning about the health and psychological conditions effecting survivors of assault has been cited by researchers as a positive coping skill associated with faster healing. (Matsushita-Arao, 1997 )
Resources to research this subject:
Search the NCJRS Abstracts Database
Google scholar or Findarticles
Online Libraries on sexual assault
Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
Search terms: rape crisis
Related links: Victim blame
Macdonalds, J. (2004). World Book Encyclopedia. United States of America: World Book Inc.
rape. (2006). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 2, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocId=9376486
Smith, M. D. (2004). Encyclopedia of Rape. USA: Greenwood Press.
Sedney, M., "rape (crime)." Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Scholastic Library Publishing, 2006 <http://gme.grolier.com> (February 1, 2006).
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