Your experience is not unique and you are certainly not alone in being strongly affected by coverage of violent crimes in the news. It sounds like you dealt with the sexual assault you went through as a teenager in the way many teens do–by trying to set it aside and not disclosing the rape to anyone. This is an understandable response to being raped.
In spite of the progress we have made in psychological research and in the overall culture in realizing that rape is not the woman’s fault, most women still feel that they will be judged and blamed for a rape. Some women also struggle with blaming themselves and wonder if they could have stopped it at the time. Other women realize that it is the perpetrator who was at fault, not them, and just try to move forward in their lives, usually quite successfully.
What many people don’t know is that it is very common for these issues to arise into our awareness at a later time in life and need to be addressed. Sometimes there is a clear trigger for the memories and the sensitivity to reminders of sexual violence and sometimes there isn’t a clearly defined trigger. The return of distress related to a past trauma is usually a signal from our unconscious mind that we are mature enough and ready now to deal with something we could not have handled facing in the past when we were younger.
At these times, it is important to get some professional counseling to deal with the emotions that are coming up and to work through the pain and anger connected to this very traumatic experience from your past. Often women choose to disclose their past assault to others–a spouse, a close friend, or possibly a family member. Even though it happened a long time ago, the reactions and feelings are happening now and it can be valuable to let others support you and share the emotional burden. Naturally, you want to be selective about with whom you share this very personal information.
I strongly recommend using the services of a rape crisis center or counseling center that has a support group in addition to individual counseling. You do not have to adopt a life-long identity around your victimization, but for a time it can be quite valuable to be around other individuals who have been through similar experiences and know that you are not alone. It takes time to work through feelings of anger, shame, sadness, and loss connected to being the victim of a violent crime, but it is definitely possible. While you may not ever feel unaffected by news about violent crime, it is certainly possible to decrease the emotionally distress you are currently experiencing and put this traumatic experience into the past within your mind and heart, which is where it belongs.