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The Mental Health Consequences of Rape

By HERWriter
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rape can have serious effects on mental health Piotr Marcinski/PhotoSpin

She has additional treatment suggestions for rape victims who need help coping and processing their traumatic experience.

“The treatment for PTSD is a combination of desensitization (reviewing and analyzing the scene of the rape until it loses its emotional impact), Cognitive Behavioral therapy (understanding that the rapist is always at fault – nothing excuses violent acts toward women; and gradually rebuilding self-esteem and creating safety), and other techniques, including spiritual counseling,” Tessina said.

Silvia Dutchevici, the president and founder of the Critical Therapy Center, said in an email that individuals have different emotional responses to rape.

“The way one responds to rape is contingent on one's earlier history of trauma, support systems and how one views and defines the event,” Dutchevici said.

“Some consequences: PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), panic attacks, substance abuse issues, shame, anger, irritability, inability to go on with life, depression, suicide.”

Freda Emmons, a survivor of rape, wrote a book called “Flame of Healing: A Daily Journey of Healing From Abuse and Trauma.” She shares her personal experience with mental health effects as a result of her multiple rapes.

“I was raped almost every night from about 1 year old through about 13 years old, from three members of my extended family,” Emmons said in an email.

“I have suffered tremendous emotional trauma and have had a lifelong emotional climb out of the trenches of despair. My doctor has related the PTSD and the eating disorder I have directly to the rapes.”

Although she tried counseling for 12 years, she said what really helped her recover from the rapes was her relationship with Jesus Christ and the Bible. However, it is still a lifelong process of healing that she is going through.

“I experienced a depth of healing that allows me to be active, rather than living stuck in a huge depression of emotional pain,” Emmons said.

She said she suffered from the following mental health issues due to her rape:

1) “Low self-esteem.”

2) “Confusion about sexuality.”

3) “Confusion about what is a healthy relationship.”

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.