Any kind of assault can have a profound effect on the victim. Whether you have been a victim of sexual assault or a physical attack, there are a variety of responses that are both natural and normal. Trauma has a range of physical and emotional effects on a person, and seeking help for these consequences is always a sensible response. It can be difficult to open up, but it may be a crucial step in your recovery following the attack.
Before you seek any kind of psychological treatment, it’s important to make sure that legal action is being taken as soon as possible after the assault. This is particularly important when you’re dealing with a sexual assault, as early evidence may be crucial. Get legal advice from a service like Powerhouselaw to ensure that justice is served. Even if you don’t end up reporting the crime, they’ll be able to discuss your options with you and make sure you’re comfortable with your decision.
Because all human beings are unique, there are a variety of potential emotional responses to a traumatic event like an assault. Some victims may experience minimal trauma, while others will be profoundly affected for years to come. These are just a few of the possible reactions that you may experience:
- Denial: If the attack or assault was especially traumatic, some victims go into denial in the days or weeks following the event. They may block out certain memories, or feel disbelief toward the facts of what happened. This denial can be broken down in time as memories come back during treatment.
- Numbness: In some cases, your mind may not be able to cope with what has happened, so you feel numb and unable to connect with your emotions. You may feel disconnected from the event, as if it didn’t really happen to you. This is a perfectly natural initial response, but it’s important to connect with your feelings over time in order to deal with them in a healthy manner.
- Anger: Outbursts of anger following an assault are normal, but they do need to be dealt with if they’re interfering with your daily life or your relationships with others. It’s important to work through these feelings with a therapist so that they don’t continue to disrupt your life and mental health.
Alongside these potential emotional responses, you may encounter physical symptoms after the traumatic event. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress can include aches and pains, changes in sleep habits, changes in appetite, heart palpitations, a weakened immune system, and stomach problems.
Trauma is difficult to cope with but it’s not uncommon. There are many counsellors and psychologists in Australia who specialise in post-traumatic stress disorder and crisis management who will be able to assist you during this difficult time. Make sure you reach out and ask for help in the aftermath of the assault, even if you feel that you haven’t been badly affected. Sometimes, the impact of an assault may not be felt until some time afterward – it’s still crucial to deal with the feelings that come up in a healthy way so that you can move on with your life and get past what happened.