Rape crisis information online resources

Post traumatic stress dissorder (PTSD)

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Click here for information on rape related PTSD or RTS.

Some common symptoms of PTSD in rape victims are short term memory loss, physical clumsiness and disorientation.  One helpful coping tactic is to carry a small notebook with you and write down where you parked your car, phone numbers and people's names (especially emergency contacts).
The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was created within the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1989, in response to a Congressional mandate to address the needs of veterans with military-related PTSD. Its mission was, and remains: To advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders. This website is provided as an educational resource concerning PTSD and other enduring consequences of traumatic stress.
The above site is not designed for rape victims but if you enter the term rape in the search engine it has articles relating to rape trauma.

PTSD in women and assault victims "The most widely studied psychological consequence of sexual assault is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)."

This page has been selected as: "one of the most relevant pages related to a particular topic [PTSD] on the web today, using an objective statistical measure applied to an extremely large data set." (Links2Go Awards)
Further information
Practical exersizes for breathing difficulties
Dissociative Disorder on the David Baldwin site
technical explanation by an M.D.
What is dissociative disorder?  NAMI
NAMI Mission & History
The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is a nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends of people with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders.

Additional information about PTSD:

"The four major symptoms of Rape-related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder are: Re-experiencing the trauma Rape victims may experience uncontrollable intrusive thoughts about the rape, essentially unable to stop remembering the incident. Many rape victims have realistic nightmares and dreams about the actual rape. In addition, victims may relive the event through flashbacks, during which victims experience the traumatic event as if it was happening now. Additionally, victims are distressed by any event that symbolizes the trauma of rape. Victims avoid talking about the event and will avoid any stimuli or situations which remind them of the rape. Social withdrawal

The second major RR-PTSD symptom for rape survivors is social withdrawal. It has been described as psychic numbing, denial and a feeling of being emotionally dead. They do not experience feelings of any kind. One way it shows up in the lives of survivors is a diminished interest in living. It is not that they are suicidal, but they have no interest in their children, in their jobs, and what feelings they do experience have a very narrow range. Victims experiencing RR-PTSD may not feel joy, pain, or really much of anything; many experience a kind of amnesia. In addition, victims with RR-PTSD may not remember the details of what happened to them. Avoidance behaviors and actions

The third set of symptoms of RR-PTSD are avoidance behaviors and actions. Victims may experience a general tendency to avoid any thoughts, feelings, or cues which could bring up the catastrophic and most traumatizing elements of the rape. This may be characterized by refusing to drive near the spot where the rape occurred. Increased physiological arousal characteristics There may be an exaggerated startle response -- hyper-alertness and hyper-vigilance -- which requires that the victim pay attention to every sound and sight in their environment. Many experience sleep disorders which result in poor sleep patterns for chronic RR-PTSD victims, such as trouble falling or staying asleep. In addition, memory may be impaired, and many victims have difficulties concentrating, which effects tasks that must be completed in their daily lives.

Victims may exhibit a kind of irritability, hostility, rage and anger that produce further isolation. Some disturbing new research indicates that certain physiological changes in the brain may be permanent conditions. Some survivors with RR-PTSD are unable to accurately gauge the passage of time. Consequently, they are likely to show up for appointments late, early, or not at all. Another possible permanent side effect is a kind of tunnel vision. Victims may be unable to see the "big picture" which results in difficulty distinguishing between a little crisis and a big crisis. Therefore, all events in their lives are viewed as crises. "

Retreived from the world wide web 6-1-03



For more information on ptsd and rape trauma syndrome click here.

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This pathfinder created by M. M. Indigo

INLS 111  UNC Chapel Hill INLS Graduate Student

Created March 2003


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