The Worst Part of My Sexual Assault


Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

I thought the rape would have been the worst part, but I was wrong. It’s what follows after that has stayed with me the most.

When I go out, I am terrified I will run into him. I begin to have panic attacks. It affects where I apply to jobs, what I do with friends and family, even how I feel when I’m out walking my dog.

Ever since the rape, I’ve been having night terrors. I’m always helpless in some way. I’m not able to speak, to get help, to move. Just like during the rape. I wake up in panics, I start to cry, and then it’s all I can think about for the day.

When I was raped, it felt like it lasted a lifetime — but what follows feels like it might actually last a lifetime. That’s why it’s so important to seek help after an assault. Therapy has been a lifesaver for me. In therapy I can work through the trauma in a safe space and then bring myself back down after talking about it.

It’s can also be helpful to rely on the support of people already in your life, like friends and family. Just being able to tell my best friend and mom what happened to me has helped me heal. It’s helped me begin to accept what happened and be able to admit it to myself.

But sometimes it can feel like you can’t tell your friends and family, or you don’t know where to go to get help. For whatever reason you feel you might be alone in this, please know you are not. The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673. They also have 24/7 online chat at hotline.rainn.org. They even will help you find health care providers in your area.

Even though it can feel like all that follows a sexual assault is more trauma, remember that healing also follows. You are not alone in this. You will get through this and come out on the other side stronger.

If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Getty Images photo via Archv


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Drawn watercolor of woman face decorated with real green leaves. Perfect image as birthday card.

5 Things Childhood Trauma Survivors Need in Order to Heal

I spent many years absorbing the blame for my abusive family, and exhausted every possible avenue of attempting to “get along” with them. When I finally went no contact, it took another 10 years to feel safe enough to fully embrace my past and grieve. Even though I thought I had done quite a bit [...]
Watercolor illustration representing young girl as a queen of the sea. Her long hair are represented like wave with sailing boat and a whale. Behind her is a big hot summer sun.

When You're Not the 'Typical' Case of Sexual Abuse Portrayed in the Media

Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. Living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is no easy feat. The first time I came across that term, I was sitting in a therapy session with my [...]
digital painting of sketched beautiful girl acrylic on canvas texture

Covert Incest: The Type of Childhood Emotional Abuse We Don't Talk About

Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced emotional or sexual abuse as a child, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. As a sexual abuse survivor, I have been stunned by the monumental shift in awareness regarding sexual assault and harassment that has erupted in the [...]

How 'Me Too' Helped Me Face My Fear of Speaking Out About My Abuse

At the age of 18 I found myself faced with only two options: Escape to live, or stay and die. I chose to escape even though I knew  escaping the abusive household I was in was dangerous. Everyone talks about how big and scary the world is, but that big and scary world seemed so tame compared [...]