According to RAINN, one American is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds, and buttressing this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 1 out 3 women and 1 out of 4 men gets sexually violated and assaulted in their lives.
Also, according to the CDC, 27.6 million men and 52.2 million women in America alone go through different types of sexual assaults and abuses in one year.
Based on all of these points, it shows that sexual assault and abuse are real. And not only are they real, but they are prevalent in an increasing measure all over the world.
In addition, the “survivors” of these dastardly acts go through a lot of emotional, sexual, social, parental, psychological, and physical effects afterward as opined by the Do Something website.
(For this article, the beam light is directed at only the mental/psychological effects.)
Even though the mental effects of sexual abuse and assaults vary from one survivor to another, what is constant is that there are several effects of sexual assault and abuse on the survivors, and explained below are some of those mental effects.
Depression is a mental disorder that is characterized by feelings of despair, hopelessness, sadness, low self-confidence, worthlessness, loss of appetite, emptiness, and loneliness.
And for someone who has undergone sexual molestations and abuses of any kind, they lose all sort of energy and they are plunged into pits of depression.
In which case, they are susceptible to having these abovementioned depressive feelings.
Survivors of different sexual abuses and assaults constantly live in the fear of “what if it happens again? “, and as such they are constantly looking behind their backs, feeling uneasy, feeling scared, having feelings of danger, heart palpitations, feeling panicky, having shortness of breath, etc.
Also, the survivors can become permanently afraid of people and places that are similar to their assaulters and the places of assault.
Posttraumatic stress (PTSD)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a reactive mental disorder that can start to affect a sexual survivor in the wake of an assault and abuse.
Survivors can start having nightmares about the events, flashbacks, mistrust feelings, trembling, insomnia, and memories.
Due to what happened to them, survivors will most likely not be happy or triggered to form healthy relationships with other persons.
They begin to struggle with any intimacy of any kind; they wouldn’t want to make friends with anyone new, they keep away from their other friends, they don’t want to talk to anyone, they run away from relationships and marriages
Substance Abuse and Addiction
Research shows that the survivors of sexual abuse and assaults are 13 and 26 times susceptible to engage in alcohol and drug abuse respectively than people who are not sexually abused or assaulted.
This is so because these survivors are either trying to break free or escape from the reality of what has happened, trying to cope with the situation, dealing with loneliness, or trying out rightly to harm themselves through the use of these harmful substances.
Sexual abuse and assaults are not things that should be joked about by anyone in society.
Not only that, it is a crime that should be taken up by every quarter and human rights bodies (both governmental and non-governmental) because a lot of sexual abuse survivors are not finding life funny and easy.
They are going through a lot of aftereffects sexually, physically, emotionally, and psychologically just as explained in this article.
These psychological effects of sexual assault and abuse are not things that go away just because we will them to go away. If not appropriately managed, they can escalate and ruin the lives of any survivor.
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