SEXUAL ABUSE AND ITS EFFECTS ON MENTAL HEALTH

Sexual refers to any form of sexual violence including any form of non consensual sexual contact. Sexual abuse now is not only restrained to sex, but any act in which one is imposing power onto someone. Therapy has proven to be an effective and helpful for the people who have experienced sexual abuse ever in their life.




TYPES OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ABUSE


1. Rape:


Rape refers to a forceful sexual contact with someone without their consent. Rape involves acts like forcing sex upon someone who does not want it, who is intoxicated or someone who falls under the minor age group. Date rape refers to an act of sexual abuse wherein one forces a sexual contact after establishing a relation. In any ways, whether one is married, unmarried or in a relationship, any type for force imposed onto someone to get involved in a sexual act is referred to as rape.


2. Child abuse:


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is “the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent, or that violates the laws or social taboos of society.” According to the World population data 2022, In India, the number of rape incidents per 1,00,000 citizens is 22,173.



The national Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported that crime rate against children has substantially increased by 4.5% in 2019 as compared to 2018. While children of all age and gender are at a risk of being sexually abused, girls are more vulnerable to the abuse.


3. Non - consensual sexual contact:


Non consensual sexual contact involves unwanted sexual touching I.e pinching etc. An attempt to rape is also included in this activity.


4. Non - contact sexual abuse:


Non contact sexual abuse refers to using sexual content of people without their consent. For eg - parents involved in sexual acts inform of their children is a form of sexual abuse.


EFFECTS OF SEXUAL ABUSE:


Depression:


Depression is the most prominent in sexual abuse victims. It refers to a constant state of sadness and loss of interest in things around. Depression involves negative thinking and overthinking.


Addictions:


Researchers have stated that sexual abuse survivors tend to be 25 times more prone to using drugs and being addicted to it. Addiction further is the root cause of many more problems.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:


Survivors of any form of sexual abuse experience flashbacks of the horrified incident that happened with them. In some cases such flashback of memories makes a person so vulnerable that they loose track of what they were doing in the present and sometimes loose control over themselves too.


Attachment issues:


Trust issues are the most prominent effects of sexual abuse. People generalise the whole world as the same they experienced and have a real hard time to believe and rely on someone. This affects their work and home life.


Anxiety:


Anxiety is one of the most common effects of sexual abuse. The survivors fear of the event happening again. The fair of someone watching you, stepping out of the house etc., are quite prominent. People tend to generalise everyone as the rapist. Trust issues arises and it affects very sphere of ones life.


Panic attacks:


Panic attack refers to a sudden episode of strong and intense feelings of fear mainly based on a perceived threat rather than an outside danger. A sudden flashback to the event leads to anxiety which further causes a panic attack.


Eating disorders:


Sexual violence affects the survivor in such way that they feel a bad about their own bodies. They feel a sense of disgust and irritation. Due to this they cause damage to their own body which causes eating disorders.


Sleep disorder:


A constant repetition of thoughts in the mind leads to sleepless night. One is not able to bring their body at rest at any time of the day. The survivors of sexual abuse are constantly revolving around the horrific event that took place with them.


We are all in this together. You won’t know before you try. Making assumptions in your own head won’t serve you any good. If you find yourself struggling in any way emotionally, seeking help from a mental health professional can help a great deal in managing those emotions.


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