"Rape is one of the most severe of all traumas, causing multiple, long-term negative outcomes."


The Neurobiology of Trauma

" Explains why victim behavior often confounds police, prosecutors, juries, healthcare provider, and even advocates."


Trauma causes:

§Memory Function Change

§Story to come out in bits and pieces/fits and starts, in a very disorganized way.


§Hormonal Response

§Victim Behavior that includes unusual, unstable emotions; high, low or flat affect


What happens in the brain?

The prefrontal cortex – key to decision-making and memory – often becomes temporarily impaired after a trauma. Some victims also experience “tonic immobility” – a sensation of being frozen in place – or a dissociative state.  This is a physiological response to extreme danger, yet can be perceived as “not resisting” the assault.


Long-Term Negative Outcomes (examples)


Mental Health

Physical Health

Social Health


Symptoms of PTSD

Gynecological issues

Strained relationships

High risk sexual behaviors (unprotected, prostitution, with strangers)


Gastrointestinal disorders

Lower likelihood of marriage

Unhealthy diet-related behaviors (fasting, vomiting, overeating)




Using harmful substances (tobacco, alcohol, other drugs)


Back pain

Suicide (ideation & attempts)

Urinary Disorders