Emotional Disturbance (Rape Trauma Syndrome)
The acute stage occurs in the days or weeks after a rape. Durations vary as to the amount of time a survivor may remain in the acute stage. The immediate symptoms may last a few days to a few weeks and may overlap with the outward adjustment stage.
According to the American Physical Association there is no "typical" response amongst rape victims. However, the U.S. Rape Abuse and Incest National Network(RAINN) asserts that, in most cases, a rape survivor's acute stage can be classified as one of three responses: expressed ("He or she may appear agitated or hysterical, [and] may suffer from crying spells or anxiety attacks"); ...view middle of the document...
The outward adjustment stage may last from several months to many years after a rape.
RAINN identifies five main coping strategies during the outward adjustment phase:
* minimization (pretending 'everything is fine')
* dramatization (cannot stop talking about the assault)
* suppression (refuses to discuss the rape)
* explanation (analyzes what happened)
* flight (moves to a new home or city, alters appearance)
Other coping mechanisms that may appear during the outward adjustment phase include:
* Poor health in general.
* continuing anxiety
* sense of helplessness
* hyper vigilance
* inability to maintain previously close relationships
* experiencing a general response of nervousness known as the "startle response"
* persistent fear and or depression at much higher rates than the general population
* mood swings from relatively happy to depression or anger
* extreme anger and hostility (more typical of male or masculine victims than female or feminine victims)
* sleep disturbances such as vivid dreams and recurring nightmares
* insomnia, wakefulness, night terrors
* dissociation (feeling like one is not attached to one's body)
* panic attacks
* reliance on coping mechanisms, some of which may be beneficial (e.g., philosophy and family support), and others that may ultimately be counterproductive (e.g., self harm, drug, or alcohol abuse)
Survivors in this stage can have their lifestyle affected in some of the following ways:
* Their sense of personal security or safety is damaged.
* They feel hesitant to enter new relationships.
* Questioning their sexual identity or sexual orientation (more typical of men raped by other men.
* Sexual relationships become disturbed. Many survivors have reported that they were unable to re-establish normal sexual relations and often shied away from sexual contact for some time after the rape. Some report inhibited sexual response and flashbacks to the rape during intercourse. Conversely, some rape survivors become hyper-sexual or promiscuous following sexual attacks, sometimes as a way to reassert a measure of control over their sexual relations.
Some rape survivors now see the world as a more threatening place to live after the rape so they will place restrictions on their lives so that normal activities will be interrupted. For example, they may discontinue previously active involvements in societies, groups or clubs, or a mother who was a survivor of rape may place restrictions on the freedom of her children.
Whether or not they were injured during a sexual assault, rape survivors exhibit higher rates of poor health in the months and years after an assault, including acute somatoform disorders (physical symptoms with no identifiable cause). Physiological reactions such as tension headaches, fatigue, general feelings of soreness or...