Sexual trauma can be many things. Many people think that sexual trauma has to be violent to be traumatic, but in fact, a majority of sexual assaults that occur do not have significant violent behavior, but instead are done with a threat of harm or embarrassment for the individual involved.
Sexual trauma is “traumatic” when the person involved feels a sense of fear, helplessness, injury or threat of injury. The level of perceived threat and traumatic reaction to that threat is very individual and almost impossible to anticipate. One person may react far differently than another despite very similar situations.
A person’s response to sexual trauma will change as time passes. It is common to have feelings of fear, grief, sadness, and physical feelings of nausea, dizziness, changes in appetite, and changes in sleep patterns. Reactions to the sexual trauma can last for weeks to months before you start to feel “normal” again.
Most people report feeling better within three months after the sexual trauma. However, if the feelings become worse or last longer, you may be suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. If you have been dealing with intense to moderate symptoms for longer than three months, you should see a mental health professional.