Emotional Impacts and Effects

Impacts and Effects of Sexual Assault

Emotional Impacts and Effects of Sexual Assault

Canberra Rape Crisis Centre

Being sexually assaulted, sexually abused, harassed or stalked can leave you feeling overwhelmed and struggling with something that has pushed you outside your normal coping abilities.


Following sexual assault or abuse, it is normal to experience a range of emotions, which may include fear, anguish, numbness, anger, sadness, anxiety, shame or embarrassment. Many survivors also express feelings of humiliation and hopelessness and it is not uncommon for survivors to say they feel “dirty” and that they need to wash themselves constantly.


You may also experience fluctuating moods from day to day and even hour to hour, or feel depressed and struggle to pull yourself from an overwhelming or constant state of sadness. Depression is a common effect of sexual assault and abuse. It is not something a person can ‘snap out of,’ it can take time, counselling and sometimes medication to help manage or resolve. If you find yourself experiencing these emotions, or prolonged sadness, worthlessness, indifference, long or unexplained crying spells, low energy or persistent fatigue and a loss of interest and pleasure in activities you previously enjoyed, it is important that you get help and support.


You may find yourself wanting to isolate, or alternatively, be with people all the time. There is no right and wrong way to feel, everyone has different reactions and if you find yourself struggling to cope or the emotional impacts are affecting your relationships with those you are closest to, help is available from CRCC for both you and those who are supporting you. Call us on 02 6247 2525 to discuss how we can help you.