Effects of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse can have long-lasting effects on the mental, emotional, and psychological health of the survivor. Both children and adults who experience sexual abuse often develop short-term and long-term conditions associated with the trauma of abuse. Sexual abuse may breed feelings of shame, terror, guilt, and pain that can last for years or even decades after the abusive behavior has ended. The impact of sexual abuse is never the same for each survivor. However, in general, victims of sexual assault often develop negative emotions, have impaired interpersonal relationships, and struggle with mental and psychological disorders through adulthood.
The Emotional and Psychological Impact of Sexual Abuse
Victims of sexual abuse may suffer from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, which is characterized by overwhelming fear and stress. These conditions make it challenging for survivors to resume normal life activities. Some survivors experience personality disruptions like dissociation, which is marked by detachment from reality as a coping mechanism. Addiction, self-mutilation, and attempted suicide may also present in victims of abuse. Victims of sexual abuse can exhibit behavioral changes such as isolation, impaired familial relationships, and risky sexual behaviors. In addition, the physical effects of abuse are varied; abused adults and children are at an increased risk of harmful physical conditions, such as high blood pressure, persistent pain, and chronic sleep disorders.
Manifestations of Sexual Abuse in Children
Children who have been sexually abused manifest many of the symptoms discussed above, but also may exhibit other harmful psychological and mental conditions associated with childhood trauma. When abuse occurs in childhood, depression and anxiety often continue into adulthood. Children commonly develop negative self-thoughts and may believe that they are responsible for the abusive behavior. They often harbor feelings of shame, guilt, anger, and worthlessness that lead to relationship avoidance and self-destructive behaviors. When the perpetrator is a trusted adult, such as a teacher, doctor or priest, children may feel responsible for the abuse. As children mature, issues with intimacy and trust are common. In fact, adults that were abused as children commonly report moderately to severely impaired relationships later in life. Young victims of sexual abuse have a higher chance of revictimization (later sexual assaults) than non-victims.
Recovery and Healing for Sexual Abuse Victims
While sexual abuse can be devastating for children and adults, healing and recovery are possible with the proper intervention and resources. There are numerous organizations providing information, support, guidance, and therapy to those who have experienced sexual trauma. Healing from sexual abuse may be a long process for many survivors. Seeking justice against the perpetrator can be the first step in moving forward with one’s recovery.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused, Levy Konigsberg can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We have helped clients recover millions of dollars in sex abuse cases. You can feel assured that we have the experience and knowledge to help you achieve the best outcome possible. We offer free and confidential consultation with attorneys at our firm specializing in sexual abuse cases. Please call 1-800-225-9825 or submit an email inquiry above.