Many people who have experienced sexual misconduct (including sexual assault), relationship violence, or stalking may have trouble recognizing what has happened to them and labeling themselves a "victim".
Sexual misconduct (including sexual assault), relationship violence, and stalking can induce a form of trauma in which power and control have been taken away from a victim-survivor. Common feelings after experiencing this kind of trauma include shock, confusion, fear, anger, helplessness, self-blame, guilt, embarrassment, shame, numbness, and disbelief. Whatever your reaction, please know that it is not uncommon to experience one or a mixture of these uncomfortable emotions. It is important to remember that there is no one "right way" to seek resolution and healing. With time, support, self-understanding, and self-compassion, the difficult or painful emotions you may be feeling will subside.
Sexual misconduct (including sexual assault), assault, relationship violence, or stalking can cause a great deal of confusion in our lives. Allow yourself the time and assistance you may need to heal. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Honor yourself by acknowledging the reality of what happened. Allow yourself to experience whatever feelings that may come, and use as many resources (family, friends, counselors, rape crisis programs) as you need. You do not have to recover from this without support and assistance.
If you have been sexually assaulted, we hope that this information will help you know that you are not alone, provide you with information to help you make informed choices, and support your recovery.