Rape, Trauma, and the Rewiring of the Brain — 116 Comments

  1. I am closing comments on this post because I am not trained in helping people deal with the aftermath of traumatic experiences.

    If you’ve been raped and are struggling with the aftermath please find someone to talk to! You are not alone! One option is to call RAINN at 1800-656-4673 or use this link to find help closer to where you are. People who staff these phonelines are trained to help us survivors.

  2. I was date rapped 22 years ago and never really spoke about except for a few close friends. Recently I had a traumatic experience at work almost robbed except the police were following him and I was only alone for a few minutes while he was asking for cash and telling me to empty my pockets. Since then I can’t sleep I keep having flashbacks of being locked in a room and unable to get out until he was done, seeing his face and remembering the blue shag carpet that was in his room. At the time I blamed myself bc I knew him we were at his graduation party and I admit I was drunk but I also remember saying No and trying to open the door, but he overpowered me. My dr said its was bc I was vulnerable back then and the experience at work I was vulnerable so it triggered off my memories
    I don’t know what to do at this point I’m so upset even during the day I can see his face and being ontop of me
    Seeing your blog helped me to see I’m not alone and others went threw what I experience and didn’t tell anyone
    ? Is what do we do when the flashbacks come with in my case is daily for the last few weeks almost quit my job after 14 1/2 years over it. Meanwhile it wasn’t my bosses fault that this guy came into our business
    Do I tell people what is going on or just keep it inside of me and pray it will pass the flashbacks

    • Yes, please reach out to someone to talk about your experiences. Healing is possible but it doesn’t just happen because of the passage of time. If your doctor can recommend someone, that might be an option. Otherwise, you can reach out to RAINN at 1800-656-4673 or via

      Some immediate thing you can do with flashbacks is to ground yourself in the current moment. Feel your feet on the ground, the air against your skin, anything that can bring you back to the present.

  3. Thank you very much for your story. It was brave. I was raped when I was 14, I was drugged first. I had bruising and signs of molestation the next day, but everyone i talked to told me to forget it, i was fine. My Mom did take me to the doctor, but the doctor never shared the results of the exam with me. My mom told me we were leaving and that i was fine, but no one ever explained the extreme genital bruising to me. I believe my mom lied to me, trying to protect me, but it was the worst thing she could have done. The #1 thing i have learned about trauma is that I experience it VERY physically in the aftermath. Once i started to process the rape at 34, it started to feel like it just happened. I remember being drugged and the last thing i remember is being put in a bed by a man. The next thing i remember is waking up in the morning. I do not remember the rape. However, my BODY remembers it. It’s like it just happened. When triggered, i can disassociate from myself and feel like i am disappearing. I also feel physical pain, but am not presently hurt. I am in trauma counseling now, and i hope to get some healing. I choose to be a survivor, and not a victim.