Women who are sexually assaulted experience had more intense memories -- even decades after the violence occurred -- that are difficult, if not impossible to forget. They cherished more vivid memories than women coping with the aftermath of other traumatic, life-altering events not associated with sexual violence, according to a recent Rutgers-New Brunswick study, published in Frontiers in Psychiatry.
"To some extent it is not surprising that these memories relate to more feelings of depression and anxiety because these women remember what happened and think about it a lot," said Tracey Shors, co-author of the study.
The women with a history of sexual violence reported stronger memories with specific details that included seeing the event clearly in their mind. They reported having a harder time forgetting the incident and believed it to be a significant part of their life story, according to the research.
"This problem will not go away soon and we must keep our attention focused on prevention and justice for survivors -- and their recovery," Shors said.