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Sexual Assaut Can Lead Directly To PTSD

Posted in Sexual Assault on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

Angry, anxious, depressed, guilty, sad, and scared are all emotions associated with the distressful trauma after a sexual assault. Mix these with the shame or embarrassment some feel after sexual assault, and you can see the possibility of victims developing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Too often, sexual assaults go unreported. Survivors may be afraid of the perpetrators because they are employers, doctors, priests, or teachers—people with power who make survivors feel powerless. It is important for sexual assault survivors to know their rights. The New York sexual assault attorneys at Soloff & Zervanos, P.C. are here to help.

Explaining the connection 

Sexual assault can involve any unwanted sexual contact or behavior, be it unwanted touching or rape or attempted rape. There is a disturbing frequency of sexual assault in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30% of women and more than 25% of men experience sexual violence including physical contact in their lives.

If someone was sexually assaulted in childhood, there is an increased likelihood of being assaulted again in adulthood. This trauma also increases the likelihood of someone developing PTSD. Survivors often feel in danger, distrusting and guarded against other people. PTSD might also manifest in intrusive thoughts or nightmares.

Studies show substantial levels of trauma are experienced by about 70% of sexual assault victims. More than 45% of victims report PTSD symptoms, including:

  • Avoiding reminders of the assault
  • Feeling unable to achieve positive thoughts like joy and satisfaction
  • Reexperiencing the traumatic event or having unwanted memories of the event
  • Increased arousal like be easily startled

Survivors may respond differently to PTSD symptoms, and these symptoms may be occasional or chronic, minor or severe.

Other conditions associated with sexual assault

According to The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, it is not just PTSD that affect survivors of sexual assault. Other mental health disorders may arise in the aftermath. The younger the victim, the higher the risk of these other conditions, including:

  • Eating disorders
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Severe depression
  • Substance use disorders

A person’s emotional or behavioral health often goes hand-in-hand with their physical health. Women who have gone through a sexual assault like rape often develop chronic physical conditions like:

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Digestive problems
  • Intense premenstrual symptoms
  • Non-epileptic seizures

When should I contact a lawyer?

Survivors often suffer for years or progressively get worse. Prolonged exposure therapy and cognitive processing therapy are two treatments found to be successful in minimizing the symptoms and conditions brought on by sexual assaults. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center also provides information and advice for survivors and the support groups surrounding them.

The New York sexual assault attorneys at Soloff & Zervanos, P.C. are also here to support survivors and fight back. We represent sexual assault survivors by battling for justice and holding offenders accountable for their actions

Contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 866-597-8572 to discuss filing a civil suit against perpetrators for compensation to cover your past, present, and future losses.