Sexual assault and rape are traumatizing and shocking life events. Victims of such horrifying events often develop rape trauma syndrome. This condition is a part of the complex group of disorders known as post-traumatic stress disorder, along with other identity and dissociative disorders.
The characteristic symptoms of rape trauma syndrome become obvious from the early stages post-trauma. Here is a list of the most prevalent signs and symptoms:
- Shock and mind block;
- Severe stress due to intensive trauma;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Partial amnesia;
- Chronic fatigue;
- Sleeplessness and nightmares;
- Tremor, confusion and hysteria;
- Sensitivity and emotional instability.
Treatment of victims of sexual aggression must be started immediately in order to minimize long term complications and psychological swings. These survivors are very sensitive and delicate. They have a poor health status and they start to become introverted. They often feel insecure, have low self-esteem and avoid new personal relationships. If they do not follow the right steps of the treatment, they will develop malicious secondary behavior without being aware of what they are doing.
Long Term Complications of Post-Rape Traumas
The psychological instability of rape victims increases their risks of developing abnormal actions and disturbing behaviors.
One of the most common complications of rape trauma syndrome is depression. Having low self-esteem, victims start to be pessimistic, closed minded and mentally fatigued. The stress of the traumatic attack becomes an obsession and changes their life plans. Some survivors feel so depressed they start to believe that is no point in living anymore. In other words, they develop suicidal thoughts.
Also, most of the victims become overprotective and extremely vigilant. They may develop obsessive compulsive disorder, which is defined as the constant need to repeat certain actions. For example, repeatedly self-cleaning and over washing are suggestive signs. Moreover, they have permanent mistrust issues and exaggerated vigilance. They often feel the need to check the doors and the windows and to lock themselves in every time they enter a room.
Also, they lose faith in people. They are afraid to open their hearts again or to contact people. They do not go out or call their friends anymore. Solitude seems the perfect coping mechanism, but they do not realize that this aggravates the depression. Most of the victims develop identity issues. They do know who they are anymore. These are trigger factors for developing pathologic behaviors such as bipolar personality.