Drugs & Alcohol

Some people who have been affected by sexual abuse or rape may use alcohol or street drugs as a way of coping with the painful feelings they are left with. Often, it can be a way of blocking out what happened and all the terrible thoughts and feelings.

Many people use substances like alcohol to socialise or relax. However, if you are finding that you need to drink or take drugs to get through daily life or to try and forget what has happened, then it may become a problem for you. If you feel worried about how much alcohol you drink or are concerned about taking drugs please go and see your GP or contact an appropriate agency.


The feelings that you get when you are anxious are similar to those of feeling afraid or frightened. This means that you may get physical symptoms such as sweating, quickened heart beat, or ‘butterflies’ in your stomach.

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Guit and Shame

Should I feel guilty because I didn’t stop the abuse? No, even though it is very common for people who have been sexually abused to feel this way. When an adult sexually abuses a child, they are using their power over you to make you do things they know are wrong.

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Eating Disorders

The National Centre for Eating Disorders state that there are thousands of people suffering from eating disorders who feel they have weight problems and may be obsessed with food and weight. Eating disorders include Anorexia, Bulimia and Compulsive Overeating or Binge Eating.

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If you are feeling different to your usual self, are not interested in the things you used to be interested in, feel sad a lot of the time you may be depressed. There are lots of different feelings linked with depression and they are unique to each person.

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Anger can be a frightening emotion but if dealt with properly can be a healthy one. People that have been abused have a right to be angry. If you have feelings of anger that you find overwhelming or out of control it is important you get some help and talk things through with a professional.

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Nightmares and Flashbacks – A flashback is like reliving a distressing event that may have happened recently or many years ago. Many people who have been sexually abused or raped experience flashbacks. They can be triggered by a place, a smell or even a sound.

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