Some women who have been subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence have internal and/or external injuries and some don’t. Just because they don’t have visible injuries doesn’t mean they weren’t raped or assaulted.
Rapists sometimes use weapons or their hands to prevent a physical struggle, sometimes they use verbal threats and sometimes they take advantage of a women who isn’t able to consent, for example, because they are asleep or drunk.
It’s also really common for women who experience rape, sexual assault or other forms of sexual violence to find they can’t move or speak. This is one of our bodies’ automatic responses to fear and is designed to keep us safe. The response is not something that can be controlled in the moment and is one of the reasons why lots of women don’t have visible injuries after being subjected to sexual violence.
There are actually five common responses to fear and danger, known as ‘The 5 Fs’: fight, flight, freeze, flop and friend. All five responses are our bodies’ automatic ways of protecting us from further harm and surviving a dangerous situation. You can find out more about them on the Rape Crisis England and Wales website.