The Five Fs
Were you unable to move or speak when you were raped or sexually assaulted?
That's really common and was likely an automatic fear response.
We hear about 'fight or flight' a lot when looking at how people respond to scary situations or traumatic events like rape or other sexual violence.
However, 'fight' and 'flight' are just two of the body's five fear responses. There's also 'freeze', 'flop' and 'friend'.
These responses are automatic and not something you can control.
If you didn't fight back, run away or say something when you experienced rape or another form of sexual violence, it doesn't mean you're to blame.
100% of the blame and shame lies with the person or people who carried it out.
For many victims and survivors, what happened to them was a traumatic event. In other words, an event that was very stressful, scary or upsetting.
However, not everyone's mind and body responds to trauma in the same way. Some people experience the effects of trauma soon after the traumatic event; others don't experience them until a long time after.
Common responses include flashbacks, feeling anxious or 'on edge', sleep problems, dissociation and avoiding certain places or things that remind a victim or survivor of the traumatic event – to name just a few.