Victim Reactions During Rape/Sexual Assault: A Preliminary Study of the Immobility Response and Its Correlates
Overt signs of victim resistance during rape are critical issues in the handling of and recovery from rape/sexual assault. However, a substantial number of victims do not resist the attacker in any way. Tonic immobility (TI), a well-known involuntary, reflexive response to fear-inducing stimuli, may aid in explaining the paralysis and “freezing” of many rape victims. In the present study, rape survivors were classified as immobile, intermediate, or mobile, based on a self-report measure. The immobile group manifested significantly more of the specific features associated with tonic immobility. Thirty-seven percent of the sample clearly demonstrated immobility during the attack. Various postrape behaviors and attitudes were found to be associated with the incidence of the immobility response.
Journal of Interpersonal Violence
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