Rape Trauma Syndrome
First Stage: Pre-Assault
- Not always experienced by every victim.
- Some may experience a feeling that something is amiss.
- May feel apprehensive prior to the assault.
- Often these feelings are ignored.
Second Stage: The Assault
- Occurs during the assault.
- Characterized by physical and emotional shock.
- May experience sense of unreality.
- May describe the sensation of leaving their body or disassociation.
- May feel paralysis, wanting to scream but nothing will come out.
- May be able to clearly remember every little detail of what happened.
Third Stage: The Acute Phase
- Begins after the assault and may last anywhere from several days to several weeks.
- Characterized by shock and disbelief.
- Thoughts may be disorganized.
- May experience a wide range of physical and emotional reactions.
Fourth Stage: The Recoil Phase
- Begins several days or weeks after the assault, and lasts for months or years.
- May never move beyond this phase.
- Characterized by "wanting to be normal again."
- Likely to refuse counseling or to talk about the assault.
Final Stage: Resolution and Reorganization
- Begins when the victim realizes that s/he must face his/her feelings about the assault.
- Something may trigger the victim to make him/her feel like the assault had just happened.
- Moves onto a period of crisis.
- Re-thinks emotions and reactions.
- Process may take several weeks to a year.
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