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The part of the iceberg that was invisible: the effects.

Victim Impact Statement

Effects of the rape

Body/Mind | Financial | Social


To most victims the long term effects of the rape are the most important thing of all. This topic addresses the changes in self image, thinking, functioning and major life changes suffered as a direct result of the rape. This is something the victim often has to deal with for their entire life. The four injuries all crime victims suffer are usually listed in victim impact statements as physical, financial, social and emotional.

"Victim impact statements usually describe the harm the offense has had on the victim, including descriptions of the financial, physical, psychological or emotional impact, harm to familial relationships, descriptions of any medical treatments or psychological services required by the victim or the victim's family as a result of the victimization, and the need for any restitution. "

Rape has effects which many survivors suffer regardless of the level of violence involved. This also includes somatic (body) symptoms

"Sexual assault was also a significant statistical predictor of having multiple sick days in the prior 6 months and of being a high utilizer of primary care visits in the prior 6 months. These data confirm a strong association between sexual trauma exposure and somatic symptoms, illness attitudes and healthcare utilization in women." ( Stein et. al., 2004)

I/ Physical- body and mind.

a/ Psychological damage and brain functioning

(Invisible damage)

b/ Physical: Scars or injuries.

II Financial

Financial: Loss of ability to work, educational opportunities lost, legal costs, medical bills.

III Social and Emotional

Pain and suffering (social and emotional): Long term life-altering changes/effects of rape such as loss of ability to work, having to drop out of school, ostracism due to the stigma of rape such as secondary victimization (reactions of others).

About social injuries or secondary victimization:

"Social Injury
In the earlier section on The Four Injuries, the social injury was described. If a victim is treated with dignity, compassion and respect, she may have less difficulty dealing with these immediate and long-term crisis reactions. If she is treated poorly, these reactions may be made worse. When such reactions are worsened, the actions of others are called the "social injury." Some examples of social injuries are as follows:

* The law enforcement officer or a family member may not believe the victim when she tries to report a crime. For a crime victim with a disability, in particular, the social injury may occur when the victim realizes that other people may not believe her simply because of her disability.
* The story about the crime may be reported in the newspaper, on the television or radio, or may be a source of "gossip" in the community. This can embarrass the victim, especially if the facts are reported incorrectly, if personal information about the victim is given, or if the victim is made to appear foolish.
* Family, friends or even a clergy member may not be helpful or understanding. They may "blame" the victim (not always on purpose) for what happened or they may not want the victim to talk about it because it could cause the family shame.
* Doctors or nurses may not always identify physical injuries as being crime-related.
* Other sources of social injury include mental health professionals, social service workers, victim service workers, schools or educators, victim compensation systems, disability program workers, and employers."


Yehuda, Na'ama (2005). The Language of Dissociation. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, Vol 6(1), pp. 9-29.

Jerome, Richard; Comander, Lauren (2006). FACES OF RAPE. People, 3/20/2006, Vol. 65 Issue 11, p199-202, 3p.

Esposito, Noreen (2006). Women with a History of Sexual Assault. American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 106 Issue 3, p69-73, 4p

Stein, Murray B.; Lang, Ariel J.; Laffaye, Charlene; Satz, Leslie E.; Lenox, Rebecca J.; Dresselhaus, Timothy R. (2004). Relationship of sexual assault history to somatic symptoms and health anxiety in women. General Hospital Psychiatry, May2004, Vol. 26 Issue 3, p178

Adams-Curtis, Leah E.; Forbes, Gordon B. (2004). COLLEGE WOMEN'S EXPERIENCES OF SEXUAL COERCION. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, Vol. 5 Issue 2, p91-122




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