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Why PTSD is So Prevalent After Sexual Assault

During a traumatic event like sexual assault, the human body struggles to process emotions. After a traumatic event, emotions can still be complex. A survivor could become hypervigilant, always seeing shadows as possible attackers. They could shut down and enter a major depressive episode, sleeping for days at a time. They could experience the trauma again due to a trigger being present, such as being in the same area where the assault took place. Whatever the symptoms, after a sexual assault, PTSD is ubiquitous.

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a psychiatric disorder that occurs after someone survives an incredibly traumatic event. Previously called ‘Shell Shock,’ it happens whenever a person persists in a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, a car accident, or a sexual assault. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Intrusive memories of the event, such as flashbacks or nightmares.
  • Avoidance of places, activities, or people that remind a survivor of the event
  • Adverse changes in mood, such as difficulty maintaining relationships or emotional numbness.
  • Changes in reactions, such as being easily startled or struggling to control emotions.

PTSD After Sexual Assault

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, after a sexual assault, 94% of female survivors experienced PTSD symptoms for two weeks after an assault. Nine months out, 30% still reported PTSD symptoms. Sexual assault is a highly traumatic event; for most survivors, there will be severe emotional distress in the immediate aftermath, and for many, there will be for a lifetime.

How To Get Help

After a traumatic event, people often are too scared or hurt to speak about it. Talk about the event when you feel comfortable with a mental health professional or a trusted friend. As well, seeking a mental health professional to best chart a course to recovery can help mitigate the symptoms of PTSD.

We’re Here To Help

Survivors of sexual abuse often feel alone, scared, and ashamed. Going through many of the symptoms of PTSD can work to make a survivor feel more isolated than they are. At KMD Law, we work with our clients to aggressively pursue legal action against those who have harmed them. We operate with high confidentiality and sensitivity and will be with you every step of the process.

Contact us today at (833) 456-3529 for a free consultation.