What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is any unwanted act of a sexual nature imposed by one or more persons on another person of any age and any sex. The experience of sexual assault has different manifestations for each person. It is a severe emotional and physical violation. Following such an experience it is natural to feel a whole range of emotions: fear, guilt, humiliation, dissociation, numbness, embarrassment, lack of trust, withdrawal, anger, helplessness, hatred, isolation, revenge, anxiety, sadness, confusion, shame/self-blame, powerlessness, depression, distraction. These emotions are a part of the trauma experienced by the survivor of sexual assault. The survivor may experience one, a combination, or all of these emotions at the same time. These emotions may come and go over time or the survivor may totally suppress the painful memories. The initial response to the survivor and the manner in which they are attended to, will do much to restore some of the survivor’s emotional balance. Recognize that these are normal responses to an extraordinary experience. The sexual assault is never the fault of the survivor – the assailant is 100% responsible.