Sexual Abuse has long-term mental and physical effects

We are bound to live with threads. Some are fleeting; like the connection to places we pass by and some are strong; like the ones tying us to the people we love. Some threads are light; they represent all that’s good and happy in this world. However, others are incredibly heavy and draining; they take a hold of our lives and never let us go easily, if ever. Sexual abuse is an incredibly heavy thread that makes the victim lose their balance and sometimes, their life.

“We don’t heal in isolation but in community.” — S. Kelley Harrell

As we’ve discussed in one of our articles, the body memorizes. Every scratch and mark is kept in the body’s memory. The worse the injury, the longer remembering and reliving the experience are. 

These incidents manifest later on in life. Sexual abuse is no easy feat. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 13% of women experience sexual harassment, 27% of children and with veterans, the percentage is even higher.

Most of us know of someone or of a story, that’s if we’re not the victim ourselves. And since sexual harassment is not merely a passing event, many consequences will be evident. A. Consequences:

Before we begin, it’s important to note that people react differently to sexual abuse. The consequences differ between a person and the other. With the following, we point out the main common consequences.

According to The National Online Resource Center on Violence against Women, there are short-term effects and long-term ones. The short-term are those that only last for a specific time, such as fear, confusion, and withdrawal.  The long-term effects are those that last much longer, as discussed below.

Two black threads in the front, their shadows cast on the wall with scissors looming over, not seen in the foreground.

Physical Consequences of Sexual Abuse

Sexual assault histories report plenty of complexities within the body to the point that childhood and adult sexual abuse are heavily linked with increased healthcare.

Victims mostly experience diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, back pain, headache, eating disorders, poor reproductive outcomes, digestive problems…

The National Center for PTSD indicates that the “women who reported a history of childhood sexual abuse were more likely to visit the emergency room.” This is never an easy pill to swallow.

 

Psychological Consequences of Sexual Abuse

a. PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a reactive disorder that follows a traumatic incident. It is where the person reacts to different stimuli as if they are back in that traumatic event. Fear, helplessness, and horror are the most common reactions.

The National Institute of Public Health of Quebec reports that the most common effect of sexual abuse is PTSD. People with PTSD re-experience the traumatic event even when they’re dreaming. 

The Dana Foundation warns against the outbursts of anger and restlessness the victim might feel. The foundation also sheds light on how common PTSD is along with people, no matter how undetected it might be.

PTSD in such cases is severe and results in uncontainable thoughts. This eventually leads to deterring mental health and performance of daily tasks and activities. Take a look at our age here.

b. Depression

As aforementioned, mental health deteriorates in general with sexual abuse. Depression is another consequence. It’s not merely sadness, but rather an utter feeling of despair, anxiety, and helplessness. It is crucial to say that depression is taking over more and more lives.

The National Women’s Study findings provide a study on the link between rape and suicide. In research on American women’s mental health, the suicide risk and even attempting suicide is more recurrent in rape victims.

c. Addiction

Another consequence is an addiction, and addiction itself can manifest in many mental and physical aspects. There are several types of addictions; alcoholdrugsprescription drugs, and behavioral health. What can be done

It starts with destigmatizing talking about sexual abuse. Encouraging people and providing for them a safe place is the way to go.

Many victims are afraid to speak up because of victim-blaming or they know their abusers won’t face any consequences. In fact, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network report that 994 out of 1000 perpetrators walk free.

Add to that, male victims are much less likely to come for help because of society’s shaming. The Men’s Project highlights how men are much less likely to be taken seriously and offered help.

Moreover, seeking therapy will help the mind and body to loosen the threads until they become lighter. Sometimes we can’t cut them fully, no matter how hard we try. However, we can try our best to make them as light as possible so they don’t drag us back.

 

Treatment of Sexual Abuse

At THE BALANCE luxury rehab center, we aim to provide you with all the safe space you need. All we ask is for you to step up and do not be afraid. Recognize that what happened to you was sexual abuse and that it was never your fault. We will walk with you till your burdens stop feeling as heavy. We wish to develop a plan for you so you’d go at your own pace to finally feel lighter. Our safe and calming luxury centers will provide you with all that you need. From expert help to calming scenery, reach out today and let your journey begin.