Denial tends to be the immediate response to a rape. A common form of denial is such that the victim accepts that an assault occurred but avoids recognizing it is of a sexual nature.
Following a rape, a victim commonly experiences the five stages of grief developed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her book "Death and Dying." Understanding and working through the five stages of grief assists a victim of rape or other type of sexual assault through the process of recovery.
The second stage of grieving a sexual assault is anger. A victim's anger is directed not only at the perpetrator but many time she demonstrates misplaced anger with herself.
Bargaining follows as the third stage of grieving following a rape. The bargaining following a rape tends to center on an objective of minimizing the emotional repercussions.
The fourth stage of grieving a rape is depression. The reality of the sexual assault settles in at this juncture as does an overriding sense of hopelessness and shame.
Finally, at stage five of the rape grieving process, the victim gains some sense of acceptance. At this juncture, the victim is able to begin to restore a sense of normality to her life.
- On Death and Dying; Elisabeth Kübler-Ross; 1969.
- The Rape Recovery Handbook: Step-By-Step Help for Survivors of Sexual Assault; Aphrodite Matsakis; 2003.
- Rape Recovery Center
- Photo Credit Steve Ford Elliott/Everystockphoto.com
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