Why was I picked to be the victim? Was there something about me? The way I look? Dress? Act?
In addition to these difficult and powerful feelings, the victim of sexual assault often experiences symptoms of anxiety, such as trembling, shaking, restlessness, startled easily, jitteriness, muscle twitches and an inability to relax. More severe anxiety may cause foreboding feelings and panic attacks. In addition to anxiety, depression is also common aftereffect. She may find that her normal joy in life is gone. She may have little or no appetite and be unable to sleep. She may experience nightmares. Often this depression is caused by the anger and rage that she feels and does not know how to channel appropriately. She wonders will she feel " normal" again.
The answer is yes. The survivor of sexual assault can feel normal again but must go through the healing process. The emotions are a part of the healing process and there is not a shortcut to get there. As a victim of sexual assault, you must allow yourself to experience your feelings and learn what you can from them, as painful as it is. Someone who is caring, supportive and knowledgeable about sexual assault will be most able to help you with the healing process. Just as physical wounds will not heal if it is not cleansed and exposed to the air and light, neither will the psychic wound of sexual assault heal well if hidden away in secret and in the dark.
You will not forget what happened to you, but you can reclaim your personal power and your life with the right kind of help. You can put the sexual assault in perspective so that experience no longer has a negative power in your life. If you would like someone to talk to about your sexual assault experience, a trained counselor is available.