Emotional Consequences of Sexual Abuse

Emotional Consequences of Sexual AbuseUnwanted sexual activity can deeply impact victims emotionally. Not only is this type of experience highly traumatic, but it can also leave deep emotional scars. Those who have survived sexual abuse often find that the emotional consequences of their experience are long lasting and just as traumatic as the incident itself.

Emotional Consequences of Sexual Abuse

Immediate reactions to sexual abuse include shock, fear and denial; however, the long-term effects make life after sexual abuse the most complicated. The emotional impacts can cause a person to develop anxiety, fear of others and a need for control. Some of the most common consequences of sexual abuse include the following:

  • Shame and guilt – One of the most common emotional side effects of sexual abuse is feelings of shame and guilt surrounding the incident. Many victims feel used, worthless and shameful for having been connected to this type of experience. They may look for ways to blame themselves for the sexual abuse they endured. These emotions can keep individuals from moving past their experience.
  • Body image issues – As a defense mechanism, many people who have been sexually abused choose to hide themselves in baggy clothing so that no one will view them as being sexual in any way. Some victims might also turn to binging, purging or starving themselves in order to obtain control over their body as a result of losing control of it to another person in the past.
  • Intimacy issues – It can be increasingly challenging for a victim of sexual abuse to find comfort in being intimate with a significant other. These personal sexual acts can serve as triggers for memories of past abuse rather than as a form of connection to a loved one. This can often lead to avoidance of intimate relationships and/or failure of current ones.

Sexual abuse can cause a person to experience strong feelings of shame and guilt coupled with body image issues and difficulty being intimate with a partner.

The Benefits of Treatment

Therapeutic services are the best and most efficient way for someone who has experienced sexual abuse to begin moving past the trauma. Through traditional talk therapy, gender-specific treatment groups and family therapy, a victim of sexual abuse can learn coping skills, reestablish self-confidence and prevent the development of serious issues, such as eating disorders.

Do You Want to Overcome Sexual Abuse?

We know how painful sexual abuse can be, and we are here to help. Call our toll-free helpline right now to get the treatment you deserve. Our lines are open 24 hours a day. Don’t hesitate. Call us today.