Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS) | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminal Law

Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS) is a psychological response to a sexual assault that can include a range of symptoms and behaviors, such as anxiety, depression, fear, shame, and self-blame.

It can also lead to changes in the victim’s social and sexual relationships and may affect their ability to function in daily life. The concept of RTS has been used in the criminal justice system to help explain victim behavior and to provide evidence of the impact of sexual assault on victims in legal proceedings. However, some critics argue that the use of RTS in court may reinforce stereotypes about victim behavior and may not be supported by empirical evidence.

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Last Modified: 03/13/2023


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