How you might feel physically
Everyone's experience is unique and there are lots of different ways you might feel after rape or sexual violence. If you don't have physical injuries or symptoms, it doesn't mean you weren't raped or that what happened to you isn't serious.
Different physical symptoms
If you do have physical symptoms, they might include:
- Abdominal (tummy) pain
- Changes in eating pattern: like loss of appetite or wanting/needing to be sick
- Changes to menstruation: you might have heavier bleeding, period pain or a less regular cycle
- Changes in sleep pattern: you might feel tired all of the time or fatigued, have trouble falling or staying asleep (insomnia) or have nightmares
- Cuts/tears and bleeding: You might experience pain from tears in your vagina, anus, or cuts on your mouth. These are best treated quickly.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhoea, bloating and constipation
- Muscle tension
- Nausea: feeling sick
- Panic: your heart might beat fast and your breathing might be heavy and shallow
- Sex difficulties: you might experience pain or fear during sex
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs )
You might find some reactions lessen over time. You might feel you need to get medical treatment for some others.
If you have severe bleeding from your vagina (heavier than a period and continuous), it's best if you can go straight to hospital and tell them what has happened so they can treat you effectively.
You can have a forensic medical examination at a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), as well as tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.