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How does sexual assault affect the victim and their significant others?

Each survivor reacts to sexual violence differently, such as expressing emotions or preferring to keep their feelings inside; he or she may talk about the assault soon after or wait weeks, months or years before discussing the assault, if ever.

Survivors may experience physical responses to the trauma such as eating disorders, dramatic changes in sleeping patterns or becoming more easily startled. Some survivors will display a mix of healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms.

The human body and brain are very resilient. Many victims fully recover from the emotional, physical and psychological effects of the assault. For most, talking through the trauma is a key to healing. It is important to respect each person’s choices and style of coping, responding without judgment and offering to connect victims with rape crisis center services.