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Symptoms of RTS (Rape Trauma Syndrome)

Updated on March 3, 2013

RTS (Rape Trauma Syndrome) is a cousin of PTSD. It occurs after a rape of some sort and impacts a person differently. Some will have severe to no symptoms. Like PTSD, it has physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. Victims of it may experience sexual problems after the crime. They may not want any sexual contact. Those who suffer RTS may appear puzzling or emotional to family members for no reason.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Sleep problems
  • Eating problems that appear extreme (either starving or compulsive)
  • Lack of energy or overly hyper
  • An abnormal feeling of being sick or being sick more often than normal
  • Physical pain
  • Heart palpitations, tightness or pain in chest, high blood pressure
  • Over-reacting to sudden noise or movement or overly sensitive to noise

Cognitive Symptoms include:

  • Constantly thinking of the rape incident
  • Unable to recall things or details of incident
  • Poor concentration
  • Overly alert
  • Noticeable speech problems that were never there (stutter, stammer, pronunciation)
  • Unable to solve problems
  • Nightmares
  • Revenge fantasies
  • Thoughts about suicide

Behavioral symptoms include:

  • Sudden crying for no reason
  • Avoiding reminders of rape and pretending it did not happen
  • Not caring for yourself or others
  • Excessive washing or cleansing oneself
  • Self- injurious behavior
  • Self-blame
  • Fear of being alone
  • Not being social after the incident
  • Being irritable, argumentative or easily upset, withdraw from family members or relationships
  • Becoming overly dependent on others


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