4 Ways Sexual Assault Can Affect Future Relationships - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

4 Ways Sexual Assault Can Affect Future Relationships

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Sexual assault can happen to anyone. It might happen to people of any gender, age, ethnicity, or financial status. In that sense, it is an equalizer, and when it happens, it can affect someone for the rest of their life.

It’s important to note that if someone is a sexual assault survivor, they might not seem like the same person anymore. A sexual assault can change their very personality. This article will look at how this heinous crime can impact future relationships between the survivor and other individuals in their life.

The Survivor Might Lose Friendships

In the time following a sexual assault, the survivor might seek out a sex crimes lawyer. They may feel like they can’t go on without pursuing justice. Of course, they can only take this action if they know who it was who assaulted them.

If they do this:

  • It might cost them friendships if not everyone in their friend circle believes what happened to them
  • They could choose to withdraw from social situations, either temporarily or on a long-term basis

Let’s say the survivor knows the person who assaulted them. Perhaps it’s their spouse or partner. Unfortunately, this is the most common scenario from a statistical perspective.

If that happens, others in their friend group might believe the perpetrator’s side of the story rather than the victim. It’s awful, but it does happen.

At the same time, even if their friends do believe the survivor’s story as to what took place, they might withdraw from social situations. They might feel vulnerable and want to be by themselves.

This isolation may not always be the best thing for them, but it might be what they think they need, at least in the early going after the incident.

The Survivor Might Want Not Want to Get Involved in Another Relationship

When an individual sexually assaults someone else, the attacker:

  • Might be a stranger
  • Could be someone they know

In either case, the survivor might feel deeply traumatized. If it’s a spouse or partner who did it, they will likely want to distance themselves from that person. They might try to get a restraining order against them.

Even if the attacker was a stranger, the survivor might choose to detach themselves from their current relationship to be on their own for a while. Sexual assault survivors often recover from their ordeal eventually, but it can take months or years.

During that time, they may not want to be in a romantic relationship of any kind. They might prefer to be on their own until they’re ready to open themselves up emotionally, physically, and psychologically.

They Could Become More Guarded at Work

The survivor might not tell everyone about what happened to them. They might only tell a few trusted friends or family members.

It’s natural they would want to keep what happened private, so it’s not likely they’d tell the people with whom they work. This can lead to them not getting along with their coworkers as well after the attack.

The coworkers might be able to tell that something happened, but they won’t know what it was. They might comment on how the victim’s personality has changed, but they won’t understand why.

Hopefully, after some time has passed, the survivor will return to the person they were in their professional life. In some cases, they may need to take some time away from work to become mentally sound again.

They Might Not Have the Same Relationship with Their Kids

If the survivor is a parent, their children might notice a difference in them afterward as well. That can be very tough on both the kids and the parent. No doubt the parent wants to continue being there for the children and loving them, but they might need some time to care for themselves as well.

It’s even more difficult if it was the other parent who perpetrated the assault. The children, presumably, will not know what happened, and they may not understand why their parents divorced or separated.

The assault survivor might need extensive therapy to get through this time in their life. Ideally, they can keep taking care of their kids as they recover, but it might get bad enough that other relatives will need to step in to help with the child-rearing for a while.

These situations are never easy, but usually, the survivor can resume their normal life after the healing process and enough time has elapsed.


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