Psychological Consequences of Rape

According to the US National Violence Against Women Survey,  18% of women reported experiencing a completed or attempted rape during their lifetime (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). As survey had it, women sexual victimization is the most devastating event they will experience. Because, majority of the survivors of sexual violence don’t remain the same after such ugly incidence.

Aftermath of rape is always loaded with chronic psychological impacts, and, it’s very important for victim to be paid much support while receiving care that addresses both short and long-term effects – Rape Victim symptoms.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

This is an anxiety disorder created by traumatic event. It is characterized by anxiety, nervousness, feeling of recollecting the event through dream, avoidance of things associated with the trauma, stress, and being Hyper-arousal; as stated by American Psychiatric Association (1994).

PTSD is commonly noticed among survivors of childhood sexual trauma.



Steady feelings of personal powerlessness. It looks like the rapist robbed them of their only chance to be proud of their bodies. Victims feel no more power is left of them to control their body.

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Usually experienced by adult survivors of childhood sexual assault. The use of several coping strategies against negative thoughts may also pave way for distress. According to American Psychiatric Association, the usage makes survivors perceive they are living in a dream or a movie. And this can challenge survivor’s ability to socialize.


Deliberate self-injury. Usually done in private. Survivors may inflict pain (burning, cutting, scratching skin) on themselves, which could lead to bigger life-threatening medical problems.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

Rape victims are also subjected to this personality disorder. Borderline Personality disorders are characterized by symptoms associated with maladaptive and inflexible personality traits – APA (1994). Symptoms include unsafe sex, substance abuse, nonfatal suicidal behavior, and instability in relationships.

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American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders , 4th edition. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
America's Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network - Effects of Sexual Assault.
Kendall-Tackett, K., Williams, L. M.,   & Finkelhor, D. (1993). Impact of sexual abuse on children: A review and synthesis of recent empirical studies. Psychological Bulletin, 113, 164-180.

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