When you experience or witness an event that is traumatic for you, you may feel intense fear, helplessness, terror, or horror or you may find yourself just feeling numb (not feeling anything). Sometimes, you may not realize that you have been traumatized. You may be in shock or unaware of the impact of the event.
During the days or months following the trauma, you may find yourself re experiencing the event in dreams, feelings, daydreams and/or other conscious thoughts or trying to avoid any setting that may remind you of the trauma. You may feel detached from those around you. You may have difficulty sleeping or find yourself sleeping much more than usual. You may have trouble concentrating keeping your mind on what you are doing. You may feel unusually fatigued, anxious, sad or depressed.
Some Useful Strategies for Dealing with Your Reactions
First, recognize that you have been exposed to a traumatic event and that it is bound to affect you in some way. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to think or feel about the traumatic event. Any reaction you have is valid. Be accepting of your own feelings and reactions as well as those of others. Different people may react in very different ways.
Talking to others about the event can be very helpful. Tell sympathetic family or friends about your experience. Don't feel over responsible: Try to understand what your limitations were at the time of the event. People tend to feel that they should have reacted differently or done something to prevent or to lessen the impact of the incident. Be aware that in traumatic situations, most people react in the best way that they can based on their ability and their awareness at that exact moment in time.
Sometimes the trauma has affected your friends and family, and they may not be able to help you or even listen to you. In fact, they may also need someone to talk to.
Counseling Can Be Helpful
Take advantage of individual and group counseling services available to you. Counseling can help you make sense of your experience to understand how the trauma has affected you and to understand your feelings and reactions to it.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX") is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities at universities receiving federal funds. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment or sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.
Resources for Victims/Survivors Of Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, and Rape
RAINN: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network
Live, secure, anonymous crisis support www.rainn.org
NYC Rape Crisis Hotline
Safe Horizon: Rape and Sexual Assault Hotline
Safe Horizon:Domestic Violence Hotline
NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project
Elmhurst Hospital: Borough Crisis Center
NYS Crime Victims Board
Programs for Abusers
Safe Horizon Alternatives to Violence Program
Sexual Abuser Treatment Referral Line
Mon - Fri 9:00am - 4:30pm