Meeting aimed at police, crisis organizations focuses on rape trauma

Meeting aimed at police, crisis organizations focuses on rape trauma
Experts say investigators have to realize that it may take several days before the victim can remember key details.(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
Experts say investigators have to realize that it may take several days before the victim can remember key details.(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
Experts in rape trauma say when someone is raped their brain is bombarded by hormones that the body naturally releases during traumatic situations. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
Experts in rape trauma say when someone is raped their brain is bombarded by hormones that the body naturally releases during traumatic situations. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - A meeting Monday morning was aimed at police departments, rape crisis organizations, and other professionals that help women and men who have been raped.

The meeting, sponsored by Joyful Heart Foundation among others, focused on just what happens to rape a victim's mind and how that assault can affect what the victim remembers.

"It's literally like their minds are traumatized. They are struggling to tell the pieces they remember because  the brain has fragmented," Memphis Area Women's Council Deborah Clubb said.

Experts in rape trauma say when someone is raped their brain is bombarded by hormones that the body naturally releases during traumatic situations.

Michigan State University Professor Dr. Rebecca Campbell has studied sexual assaults for nearly 30 years.

"Our kidneys will release a flood of hormones. They try to help us block the pain of the assault the physical pain and the emotional pain," Campbell said.

She told her audience that hormones can make it difficult for a victim to give investigators a clear description of their attacker and other information that can lead to a suspect.

"So many times, law enforcement has not had training on this issue, so they don't know what to expect and what they expect is often what society expects ... A hysterical crying rape victim and that's not always what happens," she added.

The workshop was intended to show that just because a rape victim appears calm after the assault, they are really going through trauma. Experts say investigators have to realize that it may take several days before the victim can remember key details.

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