Healing from Date Rape and Trauma

Date rape is a scary experience that can leave the victim feeling just as confused as she is scared. Often women who are date raped aren’t even sure if they have been raped; they’ll agonize over the details leading up to the assault and wonder if they somehow ‘asked for it’ even if they clearly said ‘no.’ When this self-blame is added to their feelings of shame, fear, anger and helplessness, date rape can lead to emotional trauma that can take years to heal from. Everyone heals at their own pace, but treatment and support from loved ones can speed the recovery from the emotional pain of trauma.

Rape-Trauma Syndrome

Date rape can lead to a specific kind of trauma known as rape-trauma syndrome. Rape trauma is a devastating emotional injury that produces symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The act of rape makes the victim fear for her life and at the same time feel totally powerless to stop the course of events. This combination of fear for her life and complete loss of control makes the body and mind respond in a series of complicated ways. These acute and predictable reactions include shock, disbelief, disruptive flashbacks, nightmares, intense fears for personal safety, and overwhelming feelings of shame, depression, anger, sadness and anxiety. Somatic reactions such as headaches, stomachaches and sleep and appetite disturbances often occur.

Many rape survivors will be able to distance themselves from memories of the rape, but feelings of shame, fear, anger and self-blame can persist for years. This emotional trauma can last for a long time and have a profound influence over relationships, life choices and the victim’s overall ability to function.

Recovery from Rape Trauma

Recovering from the emotional trauma of rape can be a very long process and one of the most difficult challenges a victim will ever face. Thankfully, focused treatment is effective at helping rape survivors resolve misunderstood emotional issues and decrease their current trauma symptoms. If the assault has occurred recently, treatment can be highly effective at preventing the damaging and negative long-term changes in emotional functioning and life choices. However, even if the assault happened many years ago, treatment can help the victim live a more productive and happier life by helping her to resolve and release feelings of shame and self-blame.

Women who are victims of rape are rarely able to recover from this profound trauma alone. Trauma can have a devastating impact on a person’ emotional, physical and spiritual health, leaving the victim unable to properly cope with and process emotions. That’s why recovery from rape trauma should be done at a recovery and rape treatment center that’s dedicated to promoting healing through respectful, compassionate and effective mental health and medical treatment.

At a mental health treatment center that specializes in recovery from rape trauma, you’ll receive cognitive-behavioral therapy, individual and group therapy, and medication (if needed) to help you properly deal with your feeling and emotions regarding the traumatic event and help you live a normal and happy life. Holistic treatments may also be given to help reconnect the body with a healthy mind and spirit.

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2 Responses to “Healing from Date Rape and Trauma”

  1. CYNDI F.

    I know I was date raped. there are times I am confused and wonder if I made it up. the monster who did this has prior rape history and brief incarceration. I know I am not the only victim.
    im sad and don’t trust my memories even with facts staring straight at me. I had a kind of attachment to the man who did this to me because we were in love at least in my mind when we served in the military together. what I cant understand is how can such a nice man can turn into a rapist like this and humiliate me further by putting the video all over the web.

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  2. Sandasia L.

    I’m so sorry that you had to go through that. From my recent experience I personally know how hard it is to wrap your mind around it especially since you knew him and had a personal connection to him. It makes you question everyone and feel like you can’t trust anyone.. I just pray that it gets easier for you.

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