Rape PTSD / Sexual Assault PTSD
The statistics for rape and sexual assault are alarming, both in the United States and worldwide. They are alarming to the degree that as a society, we've become anesthetized to the sobering realities of rape, and it's tragic after-effects on survivors. It is a taboo topic. Few survivors of sexual assault or rape, both men and women, feel comfortable sharing their stories of survival. There is a valid fear of stigmatization, victim-blaming and victim-shaming, and disbelief from both personal contacts and law enforcement. Victims of rape and sexual violence, no matter what the circumstances, are NEVER at fault. Don't suffer in silence. Even if anonymously, reaching out and educating yourself can help relieve the feelings of isolation and shame. Survivors stand strong together.
In other words, the majority of sexual assaults are not reported to the authorities, and the VAST MAJORITY of rapists never serve jail time. RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network paints these statistics clearer:
Where does that leave Rape & Sexual Assault Survivors?
Many survivors suffer the effects of rape or sexual assault for the rest of their lives. For reasons not completely understood by psychologists, more rape victims ultimately develop PTSD than do combat veterans.
Rape PTSD Statistics
Awareness is the first step. According to the CDC and reported by The Washington Post, "nearly 1 in 5 women have been raped. An estimated 19.3 percent of women have been raped at one point in their lives. Additionally, nearly 2 percent of men have been raped; nearly 44 percent of women and 23 percent of men have experienced some other form of sexual violence; and 15 percent of women and nearly 6 percent have men have been stalked."
These numbers are difficult to process. Standing in a room with a gathering of 20 friends or family, or professional colleagues, assuming 10 are female and 10 are male, 2 of your female friends in this room have been raped. 4 of your female friends and 2 of your male friends in this room have experienced sexual violence. Citing these statistics, one of your female friends in the room likely has Rape related PTSD, and the other sexual violence survivors, male and female, are at high risk.
This page is dedicated to Rape PTSD, but doesn't account for the dozens of other categories of trauma that can trigger PTSD. Rape and sexual assault and related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder awareness must happen. If you are survivor, today there is more and more support to be found online, in peer groups, on social media and via vital resources like RAINN. You can find other survivors to anonymously talk to. You can read others' stories of survival. You can find loud voices calling for attention. You are not alone.
GET HELP: If you or someone you know has experienced Rape or Sexual Assault, or you think you might be suffering from Rape PTSD, contact:
- RAINN: the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization: https://rainn.org
- New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault: Fact Sheet on Rape Related PTSD
Resources cited on this page:
- Washington Post and the CDC: Nearly 1 in 5 women have been raped
- RAINN: Reporting Rates
- National Institute of Justice: Reporting of Sexual Violence Incidences
- US Department of Veterans Affairs: Sexual Trauma: Information for Women's Medical Providers