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Overwhelming Fear of Rape

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“Fear” isn’t exactly the right word: it’s more like a terror. It started a few years ago, I think, I’m not quite sure. I just started having horrible nightmares about being abused in the most unimaginable situations. It’s gotten worse until I can’t sleep a full night without having these awful nightmares. It’s started to creep into my daily life, too. I’m afraid to be alone at home because I feel as though there is someone or something watching me. I am suspicious of every man. For some reason I genuinely think that every man is capable of hurting me. Then sometimes it’s as though I WANT to be hurt, like I fantasize about it happening. Not so much fantasizing in a way that I would find it pleasurable, more that I feel as though I would deserve for it to happen. I feel as though it is going to happen, only a matter of time. I don’t understand this anxiety, I have never been abused sexually or otherwise. My boyfriend is a very kind, gentle man, and has no idea that I have these thoughts or that I sometimes want to ask him to hurt me. I am tormented by this every day. Please help me.

Overwhelming Fear of Rape

Answered by on -


I appreciate you asking this question. The key to understanding this is what you said about deserving for it to happen. The work here is to find out what is generating that thought. I would write down the timeline of when this began and the themes that have emerged, as well as any patterns you may have noticed. I would then make an appointment with a clinical psychologist (the “find help” at the top of the page will help you find one near you.)

Bringing this material to the psychologist will allow him or her to help you sort through what is causing these feelings.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Overwhelming Fear of Rape

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Overwhelming Fear of Rape. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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