Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
If your girlfriend has been raped, she has been through a terribly traumatic event. The first step in a rape is to get help. No one should ever try to handle a rape on their own. You need professionals to help guide you and your girlfriend and to help deal with the initial shock and other symptoms as a result. Your girlfriend may be resistant to getting help due to the shame or fear she feels over what happened. But if at all possible, encourage her to seek out the police and a local crisis rape center. Here is a link that can help you with resources on how to find your local rape center:
The next step is to seek out therapy. Your girlfriend will need the support. But you also need someone to talk to. Your girlfriend's rape affects you as well. You may begin to show signs of the situation through stress
, feelings of helplessness and anger. All of these feelings are very normal. Support is vital in helping you both feel less alone and to help you recover from this trauma.
You can also help yourself deal with your feelings through expressing them in a safe manner. Exercise (such as boxing to get out aggression), talking to friends and family (if your girlfriend is ok with you telling what happened), therapy and taking care of yourself can help you cope with your anger and other emotions.
You can also be there for your girlfriend by being supportive of whatever she needs. It is often hard to know how to respond because there are a number of symptoms people have to traumas. They may deny there was a problem and try to ignore what happened. Or they might become hysterical. Or they could experience depression, anxiety
, trouble sleeping
and other symptoms. So being there for your girlfriend means letting her talk to you without judging what she says and encouraging her to seek out help and support.
It helps to learn more about rape through talking to professionals and through self help. Here are some resources to help you:
Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault (Re:Lit) by Justin S. Holcomb and Lindsey A. Holcomb
Most of all, realize that recovery often takes a while. Your girlfriend may experience flashbacks when she tries to be close to you especially during sex so a lot of reassurance and very slow steps in reconnecting helps a lot. Let her be your guide in what happens. She might pull away, reject you or even take out her feelings about the assault on you. Do your best to be patient and express your feelings through therapy and support. Also, keep the lines of communication open between you both. The more you can talk about what you feel, the easier it will be to heal.
I hope this has helped you,