Medical clinic — physicians and nurse practitioners treat illness and injury along with a team that includes nurses, a dietician, medical assistants, and laboratory technologists.
Counseling center — counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists provide brief psychotherapy, crisis management and psychiatric evaluation and care.
Health promotion resource — health educators work with Peer Health Advocates (fellow students) and other campus partners to promote healthy lifestyle choices and a healthier campus community for all of us.
Office Hours are:
8:00 am- 4:45 pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
9:00 am – 4:45 pm Friday
Call 229-4716 for general information and appointments
Business FAX number: (414) 229-6608,
Medical Record FAX number (414) 229-4161
Wisconsin Relay Service TDD 1- 800-967-6644
We prefer that you make an appointment in order to reduce your waiting time .
For a medical concern we have limited same day urgent care availability.
Walk -in service is available every afternoon for our mental health service.
The Health center does administer the allergy shots. The cost is $5.00 per visit. However, the health center does not do allergy testing nor prescribe treatment. Therefore students must bring their own medication from their private doctor. It is stored in the Health center and appointments are made for the nurse to administer the allergy shots.
If Norris Health Center is closed, you need to visit a facility specified by your health insurance plan. You are responsible for services obtained outside of Norris Health Center. It is a good idea to carry a copy of your insurance card with you in case of emergencies.
If you have the Student Insurance plan offered through the Student Association please review their brochure.
If you are covered by your parent’s insurance plan or spouse contact your insurance company to determine at what facility to seek care.
To report life threatening emergencies call 911
To be eligible to use Norris Health Center you must be currently enrolled for a class credit at UWM and pay the student segregated fee. You need a valid Student ID Card. Fees are charged for some services, such as outside laboratory tests, pharmacy prescriptions and injections. A summer fee is charged for students not enrolled during the summer. There are no services provided for spouses, family or domestic partners.
For the most part, the services available are prepaid as part of tuition and fees. This includes your primary care, counseling, psychiatry visits. Laboratory services, medication dispensed through our dispensary, immunizations, and procedures are available for a fee. You are not required to have health insurance to use our health center however we are able to provide you with a receipt through our patient portal for you to submit to insurance or a healthcare reimbursement account. Any care provided outside of our facilities including hospital inpatient, emergency room, or immediate and after-hours care treatment can be costly. If you have insurance familiarize yourself with its terms and limits.
Commuter students are welcome to use the health center. You can call and make an appointment or come to the clinic as a walk-in.
The Health Center does not require that immunization records be submitted when admitted to UWM. When a student is seen in the health center they complete a history form.
Norris Health Center does not do any third party billing. Students may take receipts from a health center visit and submit to their private insurance.
Norris Health Center is open between 8am and 4:45pm Monday through Thursday and between 9am and 4:45pm on Friday. A Norris Health Center counselor is on-call everyday during our hours of operation. For students experiencing crisis situations or who have urgent needs that are not life threatening, brief screening sessions (up to 30 minutes) are provided to help stabilize the situation and determine what further treatment may be necessary. An appointment is not necessary but there may be a wait to be seen if the counselor is occupied with another student at the time of your arrival.
For urgent matters that arise when Norris Health Center is closed, you may contact the Milwaukee County Crisis line at 414-257-7222. This crisis line is answered twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week (24/7).
In the event of a life threatening emergency;
call 9-911 from a campus phone
414-229-9911 from a cell phone
or go to the emergency room
Off campus, call 911
Cold and Flu
Colds and the flu can be very hard to tell apart. The symptoms of a cold usually come on gradually. The most common cold symptoms include a run-down feeling, scratch throat, watery eyes, runny nose and sneezes.
You may have a dry cough or headache, but fever in adults with a cold is rare. Colds seldom develop into more serious problems, but they sure can make life uncomfortable. Cold symptoms usually last about 10-14 days, the length of time it takes your immune system to fight the virus.
Flu symptoms often appear suddenly. The flu often begins like a cold, with a runny nose and a general run-down feeling, but more severe symptoms such as fever, body ache, headache, dry cough, sore throat, weakness or loss of appetite develop abruptly in 1-2 days. The flu usually lasts 7-10 days, but you may not feel completely recovered for up to 2-3 weeks.
Visit our cold and flu pages
Remember that most cold and flu viruses are transferred from the fingertips to the eyes, nose or mouth where they can enter your body. Washing your hands frequently in soap and warm water is probably the most effective way to keep cold and flu viruses out of your body.
Try to avoid putting your fingers to your nose or eyes, especially if you have been around people with colds or the flu.
Avoid sharing objects (pencils, towels, telephones, etc.) or beverages with people who have colds or the flu.
Maintain healthy habits (such as adequate rest, good nutrition and daily exercise) that contribute to good general health and well-being.
The flu vaccine is recommended as a way to prevent the flu, especially for people who are at high risk for developing serious complications-such as the elderly and people with lung disease, heart disease, or another chronic illness.
The vaccine is also recommended for individuals who work in health care facilities and are exposed to respiratory illness repeatedly.
The flu shot contains a weakened version of the influenza virus and prepares your body to fight this year’s influenza virus only. If you have a flu shot, you will be partially or completely immune to the flu, but you will still have no protection against colds.
For more information on the influenza vaccine see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention influenza vaccination information page. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/
Call 414-229-4716 and talk to the phone triage nurse when you develop a cold or flu, or call to make an appointment if any of the following apply to you:
- You have bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, heart disease, or any other chronic condition that is worsened by the cold or flu.
- You have a temperature of 102 or higher, and the fever has been present more than three days.
- You have white spots on your tonsils, the gland is your neck are swollen, and you do not have a cough. Or, if there has been a recent known exposure to strep throat.
- Your neck feels sore or stiff.
- You have pain along the side(s) of the chest or shortness of breath. (mid chest pain is common in colds and flu and can be treated with humidity.).
- You have pain over the cheekbone or above theyeyes, and you are blowing dark green mucus from the nose.
- You have severe ear pain.
- You note a change in mental status such as confusion, slow thinking, or excessive sleepiness.
- You have a cough that lasts a week longer than other symptoms, or you are coughing up bloody or dark green mucus.
Antibiotics kill or stop the growth of bacterial, but they have no effect on viruses such as colds or the flu. Antibiotics should only be used against bacterially caused illnesses like strep throat, bacterial pneumonia, and bacterial skin infections. There are many other reasons to avoid taking antibiotics unless it is necessary:
Your body contains both harmful and helpful bacteria. The helpful bacteria keep harmful organisms under control. Unfortunately, antibiotics don’t know the difference between harmful and helpful bacteria; they kill them all, permitting other illnesses or side effects to occur. Yeast infections and diarrhea are two of the possible side effects of taking antibiotics.
Bacterial become resistant to antibiotics after they have been exposed to them often enough. When you take an antibiotic, the organisms it affects struggle to survive. After repeated courses of antibiotic therapy, these organisms may successfully change their structure so that the antibiotic may no longer be effective.
Antibiotics sometimes cause allergic or toxic reactions that may be uncomfortable or even dangerous. People with allergies to antibiotics may develop rashes, hives, and in rare instances, may even die.
Unfortunately, doctors really can’t do anything for most cases of a cold or flu. However, you can usually take care of a cold or the flu without a doctor’s assistance. Often, simple home remedies can ease uncomfortable cold or flu symptoms. If you feel you need some kind of medicine, over-the-counter medications are usually adequate.
For home remedies or over-the-counter medications read our flu page
Counseling and Consultation
The Counseling & Consultation Services unit of the Norris Health Center consists of 8 licensed psychologists/licensed counselors, and two psychiatrists.
In general, the Norris Health Center does not prescribe drugs to be used as “study aids” and particularly the classification of drugs used for treating attention-deficit disorder. The medications used for attention-deficit disorder are “Schedule II” controlled medications. In the United States, the Controlled Substances Act was enacted into law by the Congress as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 USC 13), which created five Schedules (classifications) for drugs. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, a high incidence of physical or psychological dependence, and a recognized medical use. Schedule II drugs are only available by prescription and distribution is carefully controlled and monitored by the Drug Enforcement Adminstration (DEA). Schedule II prescriptions themselves are subject to special requirements of codified federal law: 1) Prescriptions cannot be given over the phone; 2) Computer printed prescriptions cannot be used, only those handwritten or typed, and must be signed by the physician; 3) Prescriptions must be presented for filling within 60 days of issuance; and 4) Prescriptions for Schedule II medications cannot be refilled.
If you are currently seeing a Norris Health Center psychiatrist and have been previously treated with or are seeking to be treated with Schedule II controlled medications, especially for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, you must have acceptable documentation on record at Norris. Documentation can be obtained from your previous medical or psychiatric provider, which will be reviewed by the Norris psychiatrist. If the documentation does not meet the Norris Health Center standard of care, you may be required to undergo a diagnostic re-evaluation. This re-evaluation can be done either with a medical provider in the community, or the UWM Clinical Psychology Clinic (414-229-5521), for which you or your medical insurance would bear the financial responsibility of the evaluation/re-evaluation.
Services include short-term individual counseling; couples or relationship counseling; alcohol and drug counseling; eating disorder screening/treatment; crisis intervention; and psychiatry services.
Go to a place where you are safe from further violation.
- Anywhere away from the perpetrator(s)
- Anywhere where other people can assist you
- Police Station
- Health Center/Counseling Center/Hospital Emergency Room
- Women’s Resource Center
Contact a professional, or someone you know who can help you.
- A friend, housemate, family member, or Sandburg Resident Advisor (RA) who you feel can be supportive
- A trusted member of your place of worship, community, or extended family
- The Sexual Assault Treatment Center of Greater Milwaukee (call them at 414-219-5555, 24 hours) specializes in and offers safe & caring services to all survivors of sexual assault. They provide crisis help, medical and counseling services, medical and legal evidence collection, liaison services, and more. They are a local service provider.
- The National Sexual Assault Hotline offers free, confidential counseling 24 hours a day at 1-800-656-HOPE. They are a national (not local) service provider, however, they can help connect you to local providers.
- The police – 911 from an off-campus phone or -9911 from an on-campus phone (24 hours)
- UWM Women’s Resource Center (call them at 414-229-2852) professional staff provide crisis counseling, information, referrals and on-going support to UWM students who have been assaulted and their friends and family. For students who want to talk about their experience and learn about their options for support and services at UWM and off campus in a non-judgmental setting, the WRC can be a good place to start. After hours (Mon-Fri 9-5), the WRC Director can be contacted for urgent student situations at 262-352-1890.
- UWM Norris Health Center (call us at 414-229-4716) Norris staff provide medical and counseling services to UWM students during weekday business hours. If you are in crisis or have experienced a recent sexual assault, mention this to staff and they will prioritize you being able to meet with staff that day.
Students who are currently enrolled for class credits at UWM and have paid the student segregated fee are eligible for services at no cost. Students of all cultures, languages, religions, races, sexual orientation, gender, and ability are welcome to use the Counseling & Consultation Services unit.
Typical concerns students who seek counseling services have are: stress, nervousness, depression, worry, loneliness, anxiety, guilt, anger, shame, frustration, self-esteem issues, identity concerns, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, sexual assault or physical abuse, and relationship problems.
With the exception of emergency situations, please phone or stop by the Norris Health Center to make an appointment in advance. Intake counseling or psychiatry appointments generally run an hour. In the event you cannot come to an appointment you made, it is recommended you cancel the appointment as soon as you possibly can so that some other student can have the appointment time.
Counseling provides an opportunity to explore and learn about yourself within a confidential, professional relationship. Increased understanding of yourself and your opportunities may facilitate your adjustment and lead to a more satisfying life. You may explore thoughts, feelings, hopes, fears, and wishes, as well as patterns of relating to others. You may reflect on past decisions or experiences and their consequences, or you may evaluate future goals and decisions.
Your responsibility in counseling is to reflect and share your area of concern. In the initial intake appointment, you will have the opportunity to discuss your needs and concerns as well as provide your counselor with important background information. Following this evaluation, your counselor will recommend how your needs might best be met, either through the Norris Health Center, or referral to an outside provider or agency.
Once counseling begins, your counselor will work with you to clarify and deepen your self-understanding, explore options for change, and develop a plan suited to achieve your goals. Counseling is an active process which requires work on your part and may involve exploration of painful events and feelings. Your counselor listens, asks questions, and offers comments. Together, you decide on a focus for your “work”.
Between sessions, you gather information: by observing yourself, by recalling or noticing events and relationships, by trying out helpful new behaviors. Counseling is not guaranteed to “solve your problem”, but success is most likely when you are an active participant and your communication with your counselor is open and honest.
In order to assist the maximum number of students who seek counseling services or psychiatry medication management services, treatment is offered on a short-term basis only, usually no longer than a semester. Consultation and referral services are provided for students who may need longer term or more intensive treatment.
We do not provide ANY mandated services, or those that may require court testimony or reports/letters to be filed with any branch of city/county/state/ or federal courts; any District Attorney, City Attorney, or Municipal Attorney’s Office; any defense attorney’s office; any state department of probation and parole; or any state/ county department of social services where litigation is either involved or pending. Additionally, we do not provide comprehensive psychological test batteries to determine the presence of learning or vocational disabilities.
Health Promotion and Wellness
There are several national programs that the Health Promotion Department provides. There are National Screening days for eating disorders, alcohol abuse and depression. The American College Health Association http://www.acha.org/
is the voice of College Health and provides ideas and data for the direction of Health promotion for college students. Another origanization that provides guidance for college health is the Bacchus and Gamma http://bacchusgamma.org/. The Peer Education Network has programs , ideas and resources for awareness programs. If you are interested in a program with Norris Health Center, call 229-4716 and ask to speak to a health educator.
The Norris Health Staff provides a “personal profile”of alcohol use. Download further information about the BASICS program
The Health Educators provide programs including, but not limited to the following topics:
Sexual Health, HIV/AIDS, Stress management, Tobacco cessation, Wellness, Nutrition and Birth Control Options
Programs can be provided by the health educators and the Peer Health Advocates. You need to call two weeks before the program or presentation. You can call the main number at 229-4716. Programs are free of charge.
The health educators see students on an individual basis to assess and provide guidance regarding nutrition practices. The teaching includes guidance regarding weight management, diagnosis related nutrition practices and general eating practices. There is a dietician on a limited basis. Internal referrals are required to see the Dietician.
The Health Promotion Department has handouts and literature on a variety of topics. If you would like to speak with a health educator about a topic or presentation and need materials, please call Colleen Bernstein RN at 229-6668.
There is no fee to see a Health Educator. Link to Cost, Link to Eligibility
HIV screening is provided at the Norris Health Center for a fee of $15.00 Please call 229-4716 and make an appointment for the test. A medical provider or a health educator can provide the assessment for the screening.
Students work within the Health Promotion and Wellness department administratively and as part of our outreach and training teams. Some students have worked with the department as part of their internship program, Capstone experience, or service learning experience.
The Health educators and Peer health Advocates provide programs and outreach in a variety of settings including booths, classes,union and university housing.
Counselors at Norris provide ongoing therapy which usually consists of regularly scheduled 50-minute appointments. “Let’s Talk” is not formal counseling: it is a drop-in service where students can have an informal consultation with a counselor consultant to deal with a specific concern and to introduce them to what it is like to speak with a counselor. Your “Let’s Talk” counselor consultant can help you determine whether formal counseling at Norris would be useful for you and, if appropriate, assist you in scheduling an appointment.
When you come to the site, look to see if the office door is open. If it is, please come on in. When the two of you meet, the consultant will listen closely to your concerns, possibly ask questions and provide, support, perspective and suggestions for resources.
If the consultant is already meeting with someone, the office door will be closed with a sign indicating that the office is occupied. In this case, please have a seat in a nearby chair and wait for the consultant to come out and greet you. The wait is usually not long.
Let’s Talk is open to all UWM undergraduate and graduate students. Let’s Talk is the best fit for the following people:
- Students who are not sure about counseling and wonder what it’s like to talk with a counselor.
- Students who are not interested in ongoing counseling but would like the perspective of a counselor.
- Students who have a specific problem and would like someone with whom to talk it through.
- Students who have a concern about a friend and want some ideas about what to do.
Absolutely. The consultant will help you talk through your issues and help you determine the best way to get help. If you feel comfortable with the consultant, it is sometimes possible to meet with him or her at Norris in an ongoing way.
If you believe you need to be seen sooner than the appointment you were given, it’s best to call Norris directly and explain your situation.
Since regular counseling appointments are not available at Let’s Talk, following up with the referral is a good idea. Unfortunately, Norris does not provide open-ended counseling.
If your next appointment is not soon enough, it is best to contact your counselor directly to see if he or she can see you sooner.
The best thing to do in your situation is to attempt to talk directly with your counselor and discuss the problem. If you feel you cannot do this, you can call the Norris Crisis Counselor to request a counselor change. Counselors are eager to get your feedback, positive or negative. Often, an open conversation about your concern helps smooth out any wrinkles and helps get things back on track.
Although Let’s Talk consultants are professionals, Let’s Talk is not a substitute for psychotherapy or formal counseling and doesn’t constitute mental health treatment. Let’s Talk consultants provide informal consultations to help students with specific problems and to introduce them to what it’s like to speak with a counselor. Your Let’s Talk consultant can help you determine whether formal counseling would be useful to you and, if appropriate, assist you in getting connected to appropriate services.
Sexual Violence Services - Resources and Support
- UWM Victim/Survivor Advocate: 414-229-4582 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- UWM Counseling Services: NWQ Building, 5th floor
- Business hours: 414-229-4716
- After hours non-emergency: 414-229-4627
- Norris Health Center: 414-229-4716
- Medical services including STI and pregnancy testing
Aurora Healing and Advocacy Services (formerly Sexual Assault Treatment Center) (414) 219-5555 – 24 hours/day
- Victim/survivor advocacy services
- 24-hour crisis phone line
- Medical Evidentiary Exam Advocacy
- Counseling and Therapeutic Services
The National Sexual Assault Hotline
(800) 656-HOPE – 24 hours /day
Sexual Violence Services - Medical Information & Services for Sexual Assault Victims/Survivors
A Medical Forensic Exam is a process in which a trained nurse gathers physical evidence from a victim/survivor following an assault. This can include collecting DNA, documenting injuries, recording the victim/survivors account of the assault, and providing any needed testing or medications.
- Evidence can be collected up to 120 hours following an assault (120 hours)
- Victim/survivors that choose to receive a medical forensic exam are NOT required to report to police. Evidence can be recorded and stored anonymously.
- All medical forensic exams are performed by a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner
- The victim/survivor chooses which parts of the exam they would like performed. They can stop the exam at any time
- Aurora-Sinai Medical Center
945 N 12th St.
Milwaukee, WI 53233
- Aurora West Allis Medical Center
8901 W Lincoln Ave.
West Allis, WI 53227
- If able, bring the clothes (including underwear) that were worn during the assault as well as clean clothes to change into
- Try not to bathe, brush teeth, or use mouthwash before the exam
- Wait to urinate until the nurse can collect a sample (especially if it is the first urination after the assault). Or bring a sample to the exam.
- Bring any feminine products (tampon or maxi pad) worn during the assault
- The examination can include DNA collection, photos of any bodily injury, STI assessment/prevention, and pregnancy testing
- Request an advocate to accompany you during the exam process through Aurora’s Sexual Assault Treatment Center: 414-219-5555
- Norris Health Center: 3351 N Downer Ave., 414-229-4716
- Testing for STIs
- Pregnancy testing and information
- Confidential discussion of other related health concerns
- Norris Health Center does NOT provide Medical Forensic Exams, but they can refer you to Aurora hospital
Sexual Assault Overview
Any type of sexual contact or behavior which is unwanted by the recipient and takes place without explicit and freely given consent and understanding. Sexual assault can include manipulation, physical force, or coercion. Sexual assault about power, control, and entitlement, it is not about sex, attraction, rejection, jealousy, etc. Some examples of this behavior includes:
- Penetration, or attempted penetration, or another’s body
- Unwanted sexual touching with hands or other body parts
- Unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors that, if rejected, would have direct consequences on your work, school, and/or social status
- Forcing someone else to perform sexual acts of any kind
Common is Sexual Assault?
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual assault in their lifetime (1 in 5 college women are sexually assaulted during their time as a student) (NSVRC, 2015)
- About 80% of women will experience their first assault before the age of 25 (NSVRC, 2010)
- 28% of male rape victims were first assaulted at the age of 10 or younger (NSVRC, 2015)
- Among individuals with an intellectual disability, as many as 80% of women and 30% of men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime (Sorenson, 2000)
- 64% of transgender individuals experience sexual assault (FORGE, 2005)
Most sexual assault victim/survivors know the person who assaulted them
- About 80 – 85% of perpetrators know the person they assaulted
- Victims of child sexual assault know their perpetrator 90% of the time
Sexual assault can be committed by an intimate partner or spouse
- 51% of all sexual assaults are perpetrated by the victim/survivor’s current or former partner
It is normal for a victim to freeze during a sexual assault
- As many as 50% of sexual assault victim/survivors experience tonic mobility (temporary bodily paralysis) during their assault (National Institute of Justice, 2012)
Sexual assault is a crime that is planned and premeditated
- Sexual assault does not occur “by accident” – perpetrators premeditate their attacks by creating trust, isolating the victim, providing drugs or alcohol, or otherwise creating vulnerability (CCASA, 2012)
Most sexual assaults are not reported to the police
- Only about 33% of victim/survivors report their assault to police – it is the most underreported violent crime (National Crime Victimization Survey, 2008-2012)
Most perpetrators are not punished through the criminal justice system
- Approximately 2% of all reported sexual assault perpetrators will spend any time in prison (FBI Crime Reports, 2006-2010)
False rape accusations are uncommon
- Similar to other crimes, about 2 – 5% of sexual assault allegations are proven to be false (NSVRC, 2012)
Sexual Assault and Alcohol or Other Drugs
**Approximately half of all sexual assaults involve alcohol consumption on the part of the victim, the perpetrator, or both (NIAAA)
Perpetrators can use alcohol or other drugs to compromise an individual’s ability to consent to sexual activity. Using these substances makes it easier for a perpetrator to commit sexual assault.
- Reduces an individual’s ability to physically or verbally resist
- Affects memory – victim/survivors may not remember the assault or only remember pieces. Memories can resurface after time.
- Alcohol and other drugs are tools a perpetrator uses to commit sexual assault. They do not cause someone to be assaulted. The perpetrator is responsible.
- The victim/survivor is not responsible, even if they willingly consumed alcohol or other drugs.
- Prescription drugs like sleep aids, anxiety medication, muscle relaxers, and tranquilizers are common
- GHB, rohypnol (roofie), ecstasy/MDMA (molly), ketamine can be added to drinks without changing their color or flavor
- Some drugs can take effect very quickly, while others take more time. Be aware of sudden, unexpected changes to your body or mental state. Physiological effects can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling very drunk when you have consumed little or no alcohol
- Sudden body temperature change, signaled by sweating or chattering teeth
- Sudden dizziness, disorientation, blurred vision
- Waking up with no memory, or spotty memory
- Most drugs leave the body very quickly, within 12 – 72 hours. If you are choosing to have a medical forensic exam, wait to urinate until at the hospital (if possible) or bring in a urine sample with you.
Sexual Assault - Understanding the Impact
There is no one way to react to a sexual assault. No matter your response, you did what was best for you in the moment. The following are some of the emotional and physical responses victim/survivors have after being assaulted.
Shock, disbelief, numbness, denial
- Trying to make sense of what happened or find a rational explanation
- Feeling numb is often the body’s automatic response to a traumatic experience. It is one way the body tries to protect itself from the impact of trauma.
- Numbness is caused by the release of certain hormones in the body to stop the individual from going into complete panic
- Sexual assault is not a “normal” life experience. No one ever expects that they will experience assault. Disbelief is normal and understandable.
- Victim/survivors may tell themselves the assault was all in their head, no big deal, or completely imagined.
- Similar to feeling numb, dissociation is feeling completely outside one’s body.
- Some survivors describe the sensation as though they are watching themselves from the outside
- Dissociation is very common for trauma survivors and is also the body in self-protection mode
- Our society regularly blames victim/survivors for what has happened to them. Messages such as “why were you doing ____?” or “why would you be alone with that person?” promote the idea that survivors could have avoided their victimization.
- In general, we do not talk about sex. We do not talk about healthy sex or sexual assault. We have no scripts or guides for how to have these discussions so feelings of embarrassment and shame can result.
- Most victim/survivors know their perpetrator. It is often easier to blame oneself than to believe that someone you know and trusted is capable of sexual assault.
Anger, frustration, out of control
- Sexual assault is about power and control. Perpetrators take control away from the people they assault. It is common for victim/survivors to continue to feel this loss of control over their body and their life
- It is common for victim/survivors to feel that they are no longer in control of their body. Some victim/survivors will engage in activities that either enhance a mind/body connection (conscious breathing, yoga, meditation, therapy), or further divide the two (alcohol/drug use, frequent relationships, self-harm, disordered eating). Both reactions are normal and understandable.
- It is common for victim/survivors to have flashbacks (or literally re-live) parts or all of the assault
- Flashbacks can be triggered by a number of things – sounds, smells, words, colors or images, certain people, gestures, bodily sensations, etc. This is normal and common after experiencing trauma
- It is common to be preoccupied with thoughts about the assault or feel powerless to stop thinking about it
Anxious, on-edge, jumpy
- Many victim/survivors experience “hyper-arousal” or feeling constantly on-edge as though something could happen at any moment
- Difficulty calming down, racing heartbeat, difficulty sleeping, inability to sit still
- Although almost 1 out of 4 women will experience sexual assault, it remains a very isolating experience.
- Feeling that no one understands, no one can help, you will never feel better
- Some victim/survivors feel that they just want the pain to end, and may consider suicide. If you are thinking about suicide please reach out to someone. You are not alone. It will not always feel like this.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
- It is common for victim/survivors to feel nauseous, experience gastrointestinal problems, continued colds or flu, muscle aches, headaches
- Loss of interest in physical intimacy – whether touching other people, or being touched
- Changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating.