Effects Of Sexual Assault

The most common strategies men use to cope with the post-traumatic stress effects of sexual assault are those which help them avoid or suppress the feelings and memories. Very common strategies are:

  • Using substances – alcohol, drugs.
  • Using distraction – on-line activities, TV/DVDs, music, exercise and so on.
  • Engaging in ‘thrilling’ or high-risk activities – gambling, aggressive behavior, big spending etc.
  • Avoiding other people.
  • Sleeping or trying to achieve unconsciousness.

These strategies are all reasonable in moderation, but some of them run the risk of becoming habitual or addictive. The longer the feelings attached to the memories remain unprocessed, the worse they will tend to feel, and the intrusive memories and flashbacks may continue. When we give in to fear, the fear tends to grow.

See Part Two for much more detail about strategies and the long-term side-effects they can have.