A deeply distressing or disturbing experience, an emotional shock following a stressful event or physical injury or both, which may lead to long-term anxiety, depression and other psychological issues. (From the ancient Greek word for ‘wound’)


A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the perception of a wrongful behaviour. In cases of sexual assault, the victim often, mistakenly, feels ashamed of what’s happened to them. Shame can prevent first steps towards healing, inciting feelings of helplessness and rage; it’s critical that the victim move past shame to seek help … or nothing will change.


A feeling of having committed a wrongful act or having somehow failed. Sexual assault victims often take guilt upon themselves, inappropriately feeling somehow responsible for an act of violence against them.