Why don’t many people fight or yell when they’re being raped?
Why are memories of sexual assault so often fragmentary and confusing?
Is the brain’s response to attack essentially the same – controlled by the defense/fear circuitry, running on reflexes and habits – during sexual assault, physical assault, and military combat?
The answers have big implications for people who’ve been sexually assaulted, for those who investigate and prosecute such crimes, and for everyone else who knows or works with someone who’s been sexually assaulted.
These are issues that I address as a consultant and trainer, and here I provide answers via writings and videos, as well as handouts for professionals.
The answers, it turns out, are the same in every culture. Around the world, the most common responses of people during sexual assaults are basically the same.
Evolution sculpted them into our brains long before we were sophisticated enough to create cultures, long before we began to misunderstand and misjudge sexual assault survivors with culture-based expectations of how women and men “should” respond during assaults and remember them later.