Reactions to violence

People react to violence and threats in a number of different ways. Some react immediately. For others it can take a while for them to react, sometimes several years. If you are worried about your own reactions or about how those close to you are reacting, then remember that it is normal for difficult situations to provoke a response. How people respond to violence depends on the individual but there are reactions which are common to victims of crime, especially around ongoing repeated violence.

Many women feel grief, shame and guilt for what has happened to them. Some also feel rage and anger or a sense of powerlessness and of being silenced. Being a victim of violence and having lived with extreme stress can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder and fatigue.

It can also cause a series of physical responses such as headaches, stomach aches, sleeping difficulties, eating disorders and exhaustion. Intellectual capacity can also be impaired and the affected person may become confused and suffer memory loss. Responses within relationships may include a loss of trust, changes in sexual behaviour or feelings of loneliness and alienation.