Freezing is not Consent: A Guide From A Sexual Assault Therapist in Texas

To learn more about freezing and other effects of sexual trauma, visit our website...

Written by: Innova Recovery
Published on: 03/09/2018

As a sexual assault therapist in Texas, One of the most common stuck points I hear from survivors of sexual trauma is that they did not fight back, try to flee, or in many cases even scream out.  For those dealing with the aftermath of trauma, they often use this reaction as a way to shame themselves for the event, saying they could have prevented it.  Perpetrators may even use this reaction as a way to blame survivors, saying that they must have wanted it. Any sexual assault therapist in Texas knows that this is untrue.

There reality is, our bodies have 3 reactions in the face of trauma:  
Fight, Flight or Freeze.  We are all pretty familiar with fight or flight so lets talk about freeze. When we are in a situation in which there seems to be no way out, or fighting would likely only make it worse, the primitive brain takes over and immobilizes us.  Think of our ancestors being attacked by a saber tooth tiger. You aren't getting away so “playing dead” may be the best option.

In the case of a genuine freeze response, it is NEVER a conscious choice.  Its done completely for self-preservation, physically and even psychologically.  As a sexual assault therapist in Texas, I have heard from most people who freeze reporting some degree of amnesia for the event.  This may be the brainʼs way of protecting itself from being too overwhelmed by whatʼs happening in the body.  It temporarily just checks out.  
SO don't judge your response if you found yourself frozen in the face of trauma.  Freezing is not consent.  It was self-preservation.

To learn more about trauma and common effects of trauma, visit us at We are a sexual assault therapist in Texas that can help you on your road to recovery.

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