Some survivors of sexual assault will find they can recover relatively quickly, while others will feel lasting effects of the experience. Those effects may be physical, emotional or psychological, or some combination of all three.
Some possible physical effects of sexual assault include:
In addition to these effects, a survivor of sexual assault may develop Rape-related Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (RR-PTSD). According to the National Women's Study, nearly 1/3 of all rape victims develop RR-PTSD sometime during their lifetimes (National Center for Victims of Crime and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, 1992). PTSD is a mental health disorder primarily characterized by chronic anxiety, depression and flashbacks that develop after experiencing significant trauma such as combat, natural disaster or violent crime victimization.
RR-PTSD is diagnosed by a mental health professional when the biological, psychological and social effects of trauma are severe enough to have impaired a survivor's social and occupational functioning.