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Why Did I Feel Embarrassed After Assault?

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Earlier this year I met a man in a club and we proceeded to meet up a few times afterwards. I honestly wasn’t attracted to him but didn’t want to be rude and having never been on a date with a man before, thought I might as well see him for the experience.
After 2 more meetings he came to my flat, where I performed oral sex on him (something I had not done before). Then he said he wanted to have sex, which I had previously agreed to but then changed my mind as I was nervous about losing my virginity. After telling him this, he complained about me being too scared. Without warning he started fingering me (something I had not experienced before). It hurt and I immediately starting begging him to stop, bursting into tears when he didn’t. He stopped after that and let me calm down; but as soon as I stopped crying I felt so embarrassed. I tried to act as if nothing had happened and continued to perform oral afterwards.
That night I told a friend over the phone what had happened but when she got upset, I became defensive and told her it wasn’t a big deal.
He came back to see me the next night and asked again to have sex. I said I wanted to wait some more months. He got on top of me and tried to force himself inside me, saying yes every time I said no. He only stopped out of pain, when I accidently scratched his genitals in my attempts to stop him. This happened twice in the same night. Every time I felt so embarrassed afterwards, apologising for hurting him and performing oral sex.
It was only 2 weeks later when I came home (this incident occurred at my university accommodation) that I realised I could have been raped and felt mortified. I ended up blocking him after he would try calling me excessively, once 12 times in one night whilst I slept. I have been hating myself since, not understanding why I seemed to have had a delayed reaction.
Why was I so embarrassed? Why did I immediately try to act like nothing happened? Why did I let myself be violated?

Why Did I Feel Embarrassed After Assault?

Answered by on -


It’s not precisely clear why you’re embarrassed. I would have to interview you in order to determine why you are feeling the way you do. Given the fact that I have so little information, all of my ideas about why you are embarrassed are speculative.

Perhaps it’s because you felt that you did something wrong or that did something you didn’t think you should’ve done. Perhaps it’s because you felt that you acted inappropriately in the situation. Maybe it’s because you believe there’s a certain way that you’re supposed to behave around potential sex partners. It could be because you were naïve and inexperienced when it comes to sex and weren’t sure what you were doing. There are many possible reasons to explain why you felt embarrassed. Again, I would need to interview you to know more about what you’re feeling to be able to answer your question. If you think more deeply about the situation, and perhaps even write about it, you might come to more clarity about your feelings.

This man apparently thought that you wanted to have sex or he was attempting to force you to do it against your will. He may have assumed that because you had performed oral sex on him multiple times, in prior meetings, sex would be the next step. Please do not misunderstand, I’m not suggesting that you gave him that impression; I’m only suggesting that it may have been what he was thinking.

You stated that you recently “realised I could have been raped.” It’s possible that what happened to you was rape. He did, at one point, force himself on top of you and either did or attempted to forcibly have sex with you (it’s not clear from your letter, precisely what happened). According to you, this happened twice, in the same night.

Due to your embarrassment, you apologized for your having hurt him after fighting him off, when he attempted to or did forcibly have sex with you. Then you subsequently performed oral sex. You had nothing to apologize for nor did you “owe” him oral sex. It’s not clear why you would apologize given that he had just attempted to or did rape you.

In the United States, the federal definition of rape is the following: “the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or penis with any body part or object, oral penetration by sex organ of another, without the consent of the victim.” Each state likely also has additional definitions of rape. What may have happened to you, at least by definition in the United States, may have been rape.

He asked you to have sex and you said that you wanted to wait. You said no. He should’ve stopped then but he didn’t. He then got on top of you and tried to force you to have sex or did force you to have sex. That’s not okay. If that happened, it’s rape and it’s illegal. It seems that the only way you could get him to stop was to fight back. You should not have apologized.

I would highly recommend consulting a therapist to explore this situation in more depth. He or she can help you to understand the nature of your feelings, clarify what happened to you and how to better protect yourself in the future. You should not be embarrassed and I’m sorry this happened to you. Good luck and please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Why Did I Feel Embarrassed After Assault?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2020). Why Did I Feel Embarrassed After Assault?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 18 Jun 2020 (Originally: 20 Jun 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 18 Jun 2020
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