MultiCare Health System

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Sexual Assault Services

Emotional and Physical Response

You may go through a whole range of emotions and physical responses after a sexual assault. These feelings can surface at any time, immediately after an assault or many weeks/months later. And not everyone goes through the same emotions or in the same time frame. These responses may include:

  • Nightmares or sleeplessness
  • Intense or uncontrollable anger
  • Uncontrollable crying/depression/ feelings of despair
  • Loss of self confidence/feelings of powerlessness
  • Anxiety/mood swings
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Distrust of other people
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Guilt or shame
  • Sexual relationship issues with partner
  • Nausea/sweating/shakes
  • Increased or decreased appetite

Please know that these responses, although very normal to experience, are not always easy to get through. Your family and friends can be a large part of your support system and help you through some of these issues. 

We do recommend that you seek help through a sexual assault advocacy group such as SACPC, Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County (1-800-756-7273). They have counseling services available and are available 24 hours a day if you need to talk to someone at any time. And, if you are having severe responses or any self-destructive thoughts or behaviors, you need to get immediate medical attention.