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Survivors > Sexual Violence > Recovering from Sexual Assault

Focussing on healing

After the assault, you may feel overwhelmed with all that is happening at the hospital/health centre, the police station, within your family and the community at large. Some friends and family members may be more supportive, while others may blame you or may distance themselves from you. But no matter what, it is important to remember that support is available.  


A sexual assault can have both physical and psychological health consequences. It is important that you seek medical care and follow up as well. The following are some examples of possible psychological responses to the sexual assault, which you may feel:


1. Fear that you are not safe and that sexual assault could happen again.
2. Disorientation, lack of concentration
3. Feeling guilty or responsible for what has happened (e.g. "I should not have gone there, or "I should have never trusted him")
4. Feelings of shame and embarrassment
5. Fear of social contact with people due to shame
6. Not feeling like eating
7. Not able to sleep
8. Nightmares and flashbacks
9. Fear of any physical contact even with those known to you
10. Fear of sexual contact with your partner
11. Desire to get away from the location where the incident occurred to erase the memory of the incident.
12. Feeling that life is not worth living


These feelings may be experienced immediately after the episode or a few weeks later.


It is important that you speak to a close and trusted person about these feelings or seek support from a counsellor. Disclosing these feelings would enable you to deal with the trauma and take steps towards the healing process. 

Remember that sexual assault is not an act of passion but an abuse of power. You have not done anything wrong so there is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed. Sexual assault in fact must be understood as a severe form of physical assault causing physical and emotional trauma.


Do not underestimate the need to seek counseling and support from friends, family and professionals. There are organizations that you can contact who will provide you with both psychosocial as well as legal support. Do not hesitate to contact them. 

(Dilaasa is one such center in Mumbai, located at Bandra Bhabha Hospital. You can call us at 022-26400229)

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