Victim Responses

Immediate psychological consequences include

  • Shock
  • Denial
  • Fear
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawal
  • Guilt
  • Nervousness
  • Distrust of others
  • Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Emotional detachment
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Flashbacks
  • Mental replay of assault

Mental chronic psychological consequences include

  • Depression
  • Attempted or completed suicide
  • Alienation
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Unhealthy diet-related behaviors
  • Fasting
  • Vomiting
  • Abusing diet pills
  • Overeating


  • Strained relationships with the victim's family, friends, and intimate partners
  • Less emotional support from friends and family
  • Less frequent contact with friends and relatives
  • Lower likelihood of marriage (Clements at al. 2004; Golding, Wilsnack, and Cooper 2002)

Health Behaviors

Some researchers view the following health behaviors as both consequences of sexual violence and factors that increase a person's vulnerability to being victimized again in the future (Brener et al. 1999; Lang et al. 2003).
Engaging in high-risk sexual behavior including:

  • Unprotected sex
  • Early sexual initiation
  • Choosing unhealthy sexual partners
  • Having multiple sex partners
  • Trading sex for food, money, or other items
  • Using or abusing harmful substances, including:
    • Smoking cigarettes
    • Drinking alcohol
    • Driving after drinking alcohol
    • Taking drugs (Champion et al. 2004; Jewkes, Sen, and Garcia-Moreno 2002; Raj, Silverman, and Amaro 2000)