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Common Responses of Survivors

Everyone is affected by sexualized violence differently. Our ways of coping, reactions and access to supports are shaped by age, gender, race, ability, class and other social locations.  It's important for people to understand how sexual violence impacts   people affected by sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence.

Common responses to sexual violence graphic. Examples can include disrupted sleep patterns, an inability to concentrate or focus, fear of leaving a safe space, anxiety and/or depression, appear flat or calm, headaches.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • An inability to concentrate or focus
  • Fear of leaving a safe space
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Appear flat or calm
  • Headaches

Each one of these reactions is normal to a traumatic event. There is not a right or wrong way to act when telling one's story of sexual violence. That's why it is so important to show support to all acts of disclosure of sexual violence or any other acts of violence. 

Trauma can show up differently in everyone. It can be subtle and unexpected, or blatant and impossible to ignore. For example, you might be wondering why your child is more irritable or why they are experiencing panic attacks. Below is a video and a website that can help explain what trauma looks like in our brains and bodies, and how this can affect our everyday lives.

'Fight or Freeze' #IJUSTFROZE (Video)

This film is part of Rape Crisis Scotland's #ijustfroze, external link, opens in new window campaign. I just froze' challenges common misconceptions that there is a right or wrong way for people to react during or after a rape.

‘Trauma and the Brain’ (Video)

What happens in the body and brain after someone is overwhelmed by something beyond their control (a traumatic event).