Since we are dealing with the negative and destructive emotions that result from sexual assault, we must deal with what emotions are and are not. Emotions are based on cognitive assessment and belief; they are not simply experienced. An emotion is not an impression—a feeling or a unique sort of internal experience that just happens to a person and then is named and described. Emotions are not merely physiological impulses that can be simply ignored, trivialized, or controlled.
Rather, emotions are based on and require beliefs, standards, and judgments. Emotions result from an individual’s evaluation of an event, situation, or object, and they reveal whether that individual sees some aspect of the world threatening or welcoming, pleasant or painful, regrettable or as a solace, and so on (Justin and Lindsey Holcomb, Rid of My Disgrace, p. 43).