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Information on effects and coping

Sexual violence can affect everyone differently. The effects on this page are not exhaustive. We understand that whatever you are experiencing in response to the trauma is individual to you. It is important to know that however or whatever you are feeling, it is a normal response to what has happened / is happening. If you are looking for support please click here for our contact details.

  • If you have been attacked recently you may be in shock. This can mean that you are feeling numb, unemotional, be in total disbelief, be crying, shaking, laughing or physically being sick.
  • You may feel to blame and responsible for what has happened.
  • You may be having nightmares or experiencing difficulties sleeping.
  • You may be “reliving” the events (flashbacks), these can be triggered by a sound, situation or smell and can be very frightening
  • You may have lost confidence, trust in yourself and others.
  • You may be feeling worthless or have feelings of self-hatred.
  • You may be finding it difficult to cope with day-to-day life.
  • You may be feeling angry, irritable and be short-tempered with those close to you.
  • You may feel dirty and ashamed about what has happened.
  • You may be depressed, upset and tearful a lot of the time.
  • You may feel suicidal.
  • You may want to self harm.
  • You may be afraid for example of people, places, being on your own.
  • You may be experiencing relationship or sexual difficulties.
  • You may be experiencing panic / anxiety attacks.

Coping with what has happened or what is happening to you

The most important thing about coping with sexual violence is to take things at your own pace. There is no right or wrong way to cope and there is no way of knowing how long it will take to come to terms with the trauma you have experienced.

Try to take care of yourself. Coming to terms with what has happened can be much more difficult if you are run down. Eating and sleeping well can really help as both provide your body and mind with the energy it needs to work through this.

Remember that you don’t have to cope with this on your own. It is important that you only tell those you trust. Never feel pressured to tell anyone you don’t want to. Confiding in someone who can support you can help you to explore your feelings and work through what has happened to you.

If you don’t want to tell anyone you know you can contact us in confidence. You don’t have to tell us your name or any other details that you don’t want to. Click here to be directed to our contact details.