In the first 2-3 hours after assault.

1. Physical shak­ing, trembling and shock.

2. Scared, worried, terrified and con­fused.

After this initial period.

1. Symptoms of depression, exhaustion and restlessness, together with post traumatic stress disorder.


Medium to long term effects.

1. Heightened fear, anger, anxiety, guilt, self blame, loss of trust, flashbacks and PTSD, depression, dissociation, phobias, panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

(When sexual violence occurs before sixteen-years of age the risk of developing negative psychological outcomes is increased by 3 to 4 fold).

Physical and behavioural health consequences

1. Poorer self rated health and increased rates of risky health behaviours including drinking, smoking and substance misuse as well as self harming behaviours such as suicidal thoughts and actions.

2. More medical diagnoses, higher rates of acute and chronic pain syndromes, cardiac arrhythmia, asthma, hyperventilation, nausea and choking sen­sations as well as sexual and reproductive health problems.


Mediating factors

1. Coping responses that may reduce the risk of PTSD include positive distancing from the incident, having a positive self assessment, optimism, acceptance, having an explanation, actively reducing thoughts of the assault and engaging in pro­active and protective behaviours.

2. Extent to which victims accept/endorse victim blaming beliefs and rape myths .

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