It is no exaggeration to describe emotional rape as the most underrated trauma of
our age; the effects are powerful and potentially destructive.
Victims like Cheryl are forced to cope with a tangle of conflicting emotions, experiencing
all the traumatic after effects of both rape and loss.
This confused pattern of emotional responses is very similar to that experienced by
victims of sexual rape.
It's a pattern commonly identified as post-traumatic rape syndrome, although victims of
emotional rape will be unaware that this is what is happening to them.
These colliding emotions become so entangled that it is extremely difficult - and would be
a serious misrepresentation - to attempt to categorize them individually. They are
However, it is possible to identify certain generalized feelings which characterize the
emotional aftermath. Principally, these are:
- Feeling 'Had' or 'Used'
- Rage and Obsession
- Inability to Love or Trust
- Loss of Self-Esteem
- Erratic Behavior
- Hidden and Delayed Reactions
- Fear and Anxiety
Each of these is considered in detail in this chapter, as are the typical physical and
material after effects, so victims will understand that what they are going through is
normal, that they are not alone, and that they are not insane. Later chapters examine how
to recover from many of these symptoms.