Reactions to violence

People react differently to violence and threats. Some people have immediate reactions, whilst for others reactions are delayed and might occur after a period of time. If you are concerned about your own reactions or the reactions of people close to you, remember that it is normal for difficult events to trigger a range of different emotions. How people react to violence depends on the individual, but there are reactions which are more common, especially if the person is or has been subjected to repeated violence.

Many women feel grief, shame and guilt for what has happened to them. Some also feel anger and powerlessness. Being subjected to violence and having lived with extreme stress can lead to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 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. It may also cause a loss of trust, changes in sexual behaviour or feelings of loneliness and alienation.