Rice University

Understanding What Happened

Relationship violence, sexual violence of any kind, stalking, or other incidents of interpersonal violence can be very traumatic to experience. As with other traumas, victims/survivors may cope with the effects of their experience in different ways and may need different things to feel safe and supported. No two experiences are exactly the same.

Victims/survivors may experience a wide array of emotions and have varied reactions after sexual violence, relationship violence or stalking. They may feel upset or angry sometimes, while depressed and ashamed at other times. They may feel numb or may want to ignore the experience entirely and pretend it didn't happen. Sometimes they may feel fine. Some victims/survivors lean heavily on their friends for support, while some never tell what happened. All of these reactions are normal.

Sometimes survivors may blame themselves or feel blamed by others. They may wonder what they could have done differently. Sexual violence, relationship violence, and stalking are not the survivor's fault. No matter what someone was wearing, where they were, or what they were doing, they did not deserve what happened to them.

There is no "right way" or "wrong way" to process their experience, but if the victim/survivor's behavior is endangering themselves or others, you should get them help. Call RUPD/REMES at x. 6000/ 713-348-6000 (on-campus) or HPD at 911 (off-campus) if the danger is immediate, such as attempted or actual self-harm.