Sexual assault is one of the most frequently occurring crimes in the US.
According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), every
two minutes, an American is sexually assaulted. That amounts to over 237,868
victims of sexual assault each year. Despite this large number, 60 percent
of cases are not reported to police. 97 percent of rapists will never
get sent to jail. Even scarier is that 2/3 assaults are done by someone
the victim knows, such as an acquaintance or co-worker.
A case is called sexual assault if the victim was coerced in any way against
their will into a sexual act. Rape and even sexual touching of a person
without his or her consent are considered cases of sexual assault. Anyone
can be a victim of sexual assault, no matter what your gender, age, or
sexual orientation is.
The effects of sexual assault on the victim
Survivors of sexual assault commonly experience high levels of anxiety,
stress, and fear – all signs and symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress
Disorders or PTSD. While these feelings are normal during the recovery
period after the attack, they can become chronic (lasting more than six
months) and develop into full-blown PTSD.
PTSD, if left unmanaged, can become worse and last from months to years,
affecting the victim’s relationship with him or herself and others.
He or she can become withdrawn and depressed, unable to accomplish activities
of daily living. The symptoms of PTSD have three classifications (According
to the National Institute of Mental Health):
- Re-experiencing – Where the victim relives the event, disrupting
daily activities. He or she may experience recurrence of flashbacks, memories
or dreams, and even physical reactions that can remind him or her of the event.
- Avoidance – Avoiding behaviors are caused by the desire of the victim
to change his or her routine. This can be considered a form of escapism
from the reality of the event that happened to him or her. This kind of
behavior can also manifest as numbness, depression, and increasing guilt.
- Hyper-arousal – Hyper-arousal is manifested by physical symptoms,
such as poor concentration, difficulty falling asleep, being tired, and
irritability or angry outbursts.
Children and teenage victims
For children and teenagers who are victims of sexual assault, their PTSD
can manifest primarily as regressive behavior. The term regression means
“going back”, and the victim manifests the behaviors common
to a younger age group. Common symptoms of PTSD in children are:
- Not talking (similar to aphasia)
- Physical aggression and violence during playtime
- Increased attachment to parent or trusted adult figure
Reporting sexual assault
Sexual assault is a crime and the victim should never feel any guilt whatsoever
about the attack. The first step after you are attacked should be to report
to the proper authority figures, followed by contacting your lawyer to
build your case. At Kyle Law Firm, we are dedicated to investigating your
case and coming up with the best possible defense in court. If you have
been a victim of sexual assault, don’t hesitate give us a call.