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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

How do you know if you or someone you love might be suffering from post-traumatic stress?

 Post-trauma reactions occur after exposure to traumatic events such as motor vehicle accidents, sexual assault, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and many other tragedies. During these events individuals experience terror, and they often feel helpless to stop the event. In the weeks, months, and even years following a trauma, substantial changes in a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors may occur. Because such changes can be warning signs of PTSD or other serious post-trauma reactions, it is crucial for trauma survivors to be aware of how the trauma has affected them. 

 

Eight of the most common indicators of PTSD:

  1. Sleep Difficulties: Problems may include falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing frequent nightmares.
  2. Anger: The person may feel irritable, and may experience frequent anger outbursts that are difficult to control.
  3. Numbness and Disconnection: Trauma victims may feel disconnected from others. They may also feel numb and have difficulty accessing the loving feelings they know they have for loved ones.
  4. Depression: Depressed mood, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities are common.
  5. Chronic Anxiety: Individuals often report feeling on guard and hypervigilant, and they have difficulty relaxing and “unwinding.”
  6. Reliving the Trauma: Highly distressing thoughts and memories of the event may repeat in the mind, despite the individual’s attempts to avoid or stop them.
  7. Feeling Unsafe: The person may experience intense feelings of fear or impending doom even when no danger is present. They may also feel as though it is impossible to ever feel safe again.
  8. Thoughts of Suicide: Suicidal thoughts may be active, with an intention and plan to commit suicide (“I will purchase a firearm to shoot myself”). Conversely, these thoughts may be passive (“Things would be better if I just weren’t around anymore”).

News & Media

The Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico is a trusted resource for information, statistics, and commentary on sexual violence in central New Mexico as well as statewide. If you are a member of the news media working on a story around sexual violence, please contact:

Jim Harvey

Executive Director

505-266-7712 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 Featured Articles

From the Albuquerque Journal to the Daily Lobo, RCCCNM is actively involved in the conversation here in New Mexico.

Press Releases

Find out whats going on and coming up here at RCCCNM.

 Statistics

Get the most update statistics and info around sexual violence in New Mexico.

 Tips for Interviewing Survivors

As journalists, here some tips for covering sexual violence for a better understanding of how to interview survivors of sexual violence.

Understanding Sexual Violence

As members of the media, you might have some questions about what sexual violence is in New Mexico.

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Access our logo, branding, and other media related items you may need in covering our organization.

Legal Terms for Sexual Violence in New Mexico

In New Mexico, there are a number of legal terms that are sued to describe sexual violence in the criminal justice system. Below is a number of terms and definitions according to New Mexico laws. Please note, the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico cannot and does not offer legal counsel or services and that before making any legal decisions, you should speak with a lawyer about your particular case.

 

Criminal Sexual Penetration - N.M. 30-9-11

Unlawful and intentional causing a person to engage in sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anal intercourse of causing the penetration, to any extent with any object, of the genital or anal openings of another, whether or not there is any emission.

 

Criminal Sexual Contact - N.M. 30-9-12

Unlawful and intentional touching of or application of force, without consent, to the unclothes intimate parts of another who has reached [their] eighteenth birthday to touch one's intimate parts.

 

Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor - N.M. 30-9-13

Unlawful and intentional touching of or applying force to the intimate parts of a minor or the unlawful and intentional causing of a minor to touch one's intimate parts.

 

Each of these terms have varying degrees according to the criminal justice system. For more information, click here to see the laws and varying degrees around sexual assault as defined in New Mexico Law.

 

 

Tips for Interviewing Survivors of Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is something covered in the news and media often. As journalists continue to report on these crimes and behaviors in our communities, we want to provide some tips for a better understanding of how to interview survivors of sexual violence. A thoughtful approach to an interview will not only help educate the general public, but also can help in the healing of survivors of sexual violence here in New Mexico.

 

Ensure Safety of the Survivor

One of the most important things you can do as a journalist for a survivor of sexual violence is allow them to select the time and place of an interview. As journalists, there are many deadlines that have to be met with a short turn around. But allowing the survivor to choose the time and place can empower them and will make them feel much more comfortable during the interview as well. It also creates a space in which they can feel safe enough to be vulnerable.

 

Inconsistencies are Normal

In conducting the interview, journalists sometimes find that the survivor might have inconsistencies in their story. For people who experience trauma, this is normal because of how the nervous system stores memories related to trauma and sexual violence. But being mindful of this and understanding has helped journalists in reporting sexual violence in a way that is not only respectful to the survivor, but also healing. 

 

Body Language is Very Important

As journalists with deadlines, it can be easy to feel rushed or distracted in meeting your deadline or making sure you aren't missing a developing story. However, this communicates to the survivor that their story is not important and can make a survivor much less likely to continue.

 

Self-Blame & Guilt are Real

Sometimes, survivors might display or say things that sound like they are blaming themselves or feel guilty for being sexually assaulted. As journalists, it is important to understand that these statements are one way in which survivors are processing their assault. It is also a moment to reflect on how society places blame on survivors for their assault rather than perpetrators and offenders.

 

Transparency is Key

One way we encourage our survivors to feel empowered after their assault is by being as clear and transparent with them about our services as possible. As journalists, by being clear and transparent about your intentions behind a given story will not only help the survivor understand where you are coming from, but also they will feel more empowered and included with how their voice will be heard in the community. 

 

 

Other Related Topics:

Statistics of Sexual Violence  Featured News Stories Understanding Sexual Violence

 

For more questions regarding reporting on sexual violence or the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico, please contact our Executive Director, Jim Harvey, at 505-266-7712 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Impact of Prevention in New Mexico

The New Mexico Department of Health and the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico have developed curriculms aimed at preventing sexual violence before it occurs in our communities. At the Rape Crisis Center, we currently implement a number of school-based programs that are aimed at educating youth on sexual violence. For more information about these programs, click here.

 

 

Proyecto de Voz

In fiscal year 2016, 148 middle school girls participated in the Proyecto de Voz program through the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico, with nearly all participants (94%) reporting increased intention to intervene as a bystander to sexual violence.

 

Palabra

In fiscal year 2016, 165 middle school boys participanted in the Palabra program through the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico, with three-fourths of all participants (75%) reporting increased intention to intervene as a bystander to sexual violence.2

 

Anti-Sexual Violence Institute (ASVTI)

In fiscal year 2016, 340 high school students participanted in the Anti-Sexual Violence Institute (ASVTI) program through the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico, with nearly all participants (92%) reporting increased intention to intervene as a bystander to sexual violence.3

 

Sources:

1Voz FY16 evaluation report DOH

2Palabra FY16 evaluation report DOH

3ASVTI FY16 evaluation report DOH

 

View statistics on additional topics.

 

 RCCCNM is devoted to presenting the most accruate and up-to-date information around sexual violence in our communities. However, reporting on sexual violence is extrememly challenging due to the nature of sexual violence as well as many other factors. Sources of all our information is cited from various studies and resources that are reliable and data-driven studies. If you have any questions about any of our information or sources, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.