• Melissa Kartini

5 Ways Sexual Assault Can Affect You

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

Every person handles pain in different ways. Some may keep their feelings on the inside, allowing it to show in indirect ways, while some may do the complete opposite by openly expressing their feelings. No matter how they choose to do it, no way is less legitimate than the other. Pain is pain, and by better understanding them can one begin their road to recovery.

For this particular article, we will be focusing on the effects of sexual assault.

Relationship difficulties

Sexual assault victims may find it difficult to form healthy attachments with other people. This is especially true in the case of child victims. Those who were abused as children may either be too eager to form attachments or avoid intimacy as much as possible. As such, in the case of the former, they may try to get close too quickly with their person of interest, regardless of the aforementioned's personality. In the latter, they may try to maintain distance by adopting a front or by being extremely private.


Many sexual assault victims isolate themselves because they do not feel that they deserve to be with others, be it as friends or romantic partners. Believing that they are tainted, they often do not wish to open up about their experiences, for fear that they will be subjected to harsh judgement.


Dissociation is one of the defense mechanisms that the brain uses to cope with the trauma of sexual assault. The majority of professionals believe that dissociation exists on a spectrum; on one end of the spectrum is "daydream" while on the other exists chronic effects such as amnesia. Simply put, dissociation is a detachment from reality. It is often described as an out of body experience, where someone feels detached from reality.


When the trauma is too difficult to cope with, a person can fall into depression. Depression can involve feelings of hopelessness or despair, and can also decrease one's self-worth. This particular mental state can be fleeting or long-lasting depending on the gravity of the trauma and the individual.


Those who went through the trauma of sexual assault may fear of the same thing happening again. Some victims may experience panic attacks, some may develop agoraphobia (the fear of leaving one's home) and some may develop a fear of the type of person who assaulted them. For instance, if the person who assaulted them was brown-haired and fair-skinned, they may distrust or fear anyone who fit that description.

Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini

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