Summary of important points from this section:
- Survivors of sexual violence are in a battle to survive a multitude of feelings, tread through emotion, and overcome the “aftermath” of betrayal.
- Many survivors experience Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS), with reactions similar to those of war veterans. The three phases of rape trauma are Acute, Stabilization, and Resolution and are characterized by a series of emotions and behaviors.
- Each survivor of sexual assault responds uniquely, and the recovery process is different for each individual. However, there are common patterns.
- Survivors in communities of color are often left to choose either to maintain silence around the assault or to voice it, knowing that she/he may face isolation.
- Survivors in communities of color may also choose not to disclose the assault to her/his community as part of a sense of loyalty to the community and/or family.
- LGBT survivors may feel ostracized from both mainstream society and the LGBT community, or they may feel that their sexual orientation or gender identity is focused on more than the assault itself.
- Transgender people may not want to seek hospital care because it would mean revealing that they are a gender other than the sex they were born to, which in turn might cause discrimination.
- A small, tight-knit LGBT community may make a survivor reluctant to tell others about an assault or an abusive relationship, fearing that everyone will know.
- It is only a myth in our society that men are not sexually assaulted, or that they are only sexually assaulted in prisons. In fact, 9% of all rape victims outside of criminal institutions are male.
- Because the perpetrators of abuse towards people with disabilities are often caregivers, a survivor may fear being punished by his/her caregiver for speaking out.
- A survivor with a disability may be isolated, and may therefore not have a strong support network of family and friends to seek help from.