SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM MYTH BREAKERS
Sexual trauma is a painful experience, that no one should ever have to go through. Survivors will be
forever changed by it. There are a lot of misconceptions about sexual trauma and the recovery process
that can make a victim feel even more isolated. With a better understanding of some of these
misconceptions and by breaking down some common myths associated with sexual assault, it is hoped
that recovery will be made just a bit easier.
Sharing An Experience Of Sexual Trauma Is Hard
Any type of sexual trauma is painful, and it can be very difficult to talk about it. The impact of it will go
far beyond any physical injuries sustained. Survivors will be left feeling broken, helpless, dirty, and
damaged and often responsible for the attack. It is common for survivors to experience PTSD. For their
recovery to be successful, survivors will need the full support and love of those around them. Supporters
must be willing to listen without judgment and show love and compassion.
Freezing Is Normal
During a sexual trauma, it is completely normal for survivors to freeze and not fight back. It is very
common for both their body and brain to shut down during an attack, this is the body‘s way of
protecting them. It is a coping mechanism to survive the terror of the attack. In no way at all, does this
mean the survivor has consented to the trauma. No survivor should ever have to be asked why they did
not put up a fight against their attacker.
Every Individual Will Process It Differently
Every survivor of sexual assault will react to it in their own way that is unique to them. There is no right
or wrong way to recover from the trauma that has taken place. All survivors will process it and heal from
it in their own individual way. What has worked for one person may not work for another and every
survivor will have to find the path that works best for their own individual needs and situation.
Sexual Assault Comes In All Forms
It can sometimes be difficult to understand exactly what sexual trauma is, as it comes in a wide range of
varieties, that are not limited to just rape. It is a gross abuse of trust and power. Any type of unwanted
sexual contact should be considered a form of sexual assault.
This applies to not only actions but words as well. While words can sometimes fall on the grey area of
legality, anything that makes individuals feel threatened or victimized should be considered as a form of
It Can Happen To Anyone
Sexual trauma can happen to anyone. It is not limited by age, race, or gender, anyone can be a target.
Recovery Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint
Recovering from sexual trauma is a difficult and lengthy process. It is not something that anyone can just
“get over”. It is a life-changing event, where there are no quick fixes or shortcuts on the road to
recovery. The recovery process is not linear, and survivors may feel like they are stuck or even regressing
in their recovery process. This is normal. Healing will take time and feelings will need to be processed
but recovery can and will happen.
A New Normal Will Be Found
Sexual traumas are a life-changing experience, and the lives of survivors will be different not only during
recovery but after as well. The impact of the trauma can reach into all areas of a survivor’s daily life at
any time. What happened to them, will become a part of their lives and who they are. Thoughts,
decisions, and reactions will be influence by the trauma. This will eventually lessen over time, as
survivors work to find a new normal. As they work to take back control of their lives and with the
support of loved ones, they will be able to move beyond the trauma.
It Is NEVER The Survivor’s Fault
Sexual assault is NEVER the fault of the survivor. No survivor ever asks to be assaulted and the blame
always lies with the perpetrator. Regardless of what an individual wore, said, how much they drank,
their whereabouts, or the time of day, there is never a justification for sexual assault.
For any sort of sexual contact to happen, consent must be given by all parties involved. If this does not
happen, the responsibility of the perpetrator’s actions lies solely on them. It is important to remember
that if consent was given, it can be withdrawn at any time.
The journey to recovery from sexual trauma is difficult and will take time. While it may not seem like it,
immediately following the trauma, recovery is possible. The more myths about sexual assault are broken
down and dispelled, the more power is given back to survivors.