Seven Health Implications of Sexual Abuse

f4In today’s modern society, sexual abuse has become a widespread phenomenon accompanied with adverse effects which seem to have been a cause for alarm.  Sexual assault is an unwanted sexual activity or behavior that is done with the use of force or unnecessary threats.  The National Bureau of Statistics has revealed that 9.2% of children are sexually abused in which 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are victims. These kids who experience sexual assault tend to face short or long term effects which could leave a stigma on their childhood memories. Most children who experience this always find it difficult to regain their self- esteem. They tend to hate or dislike their opposite sex; as a result of this, they usually have bad impressions about the outside world.

 The National Bureau of Statistics also went further to reveal that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males are sexually abused. Thirteen percent (13%) of people aged 12-17 are sexually abused while fifty-four percent (54%) of people aged 18-34 have been sexually molested. Furthermore, findings also acknowledge that three percentage (3%) of people aged 65 and above have experience sexual abused in the past. Research has also shown that most times many survivors of sexual violence find it difficult to accept the reality of their situations  Due to this, victims are left with physical and emotional harm.

We have three main categories of sexual abuse: One is the non-consensual sexual abuse which occurs as a result of sexual molestation such as rape or sexual assault. Another type is the psychological form of ill-treatment, such as sexual harassment, human trafficking, and indecent exposure. The last type of sexual abuse is the use of a position for sexual purposes, which includes forms of pedophilia and pederasty, rape, and incest. It is important to know that sexual abuse in whatever form always has its implication on its supposed victims. These implications are as follows:

It Leads to Depression: Depression is a type of mood disorder that happens when a person always feels hopeless or experiences continuous sadness. Sexual abuse leads to depression which could be harmful to a person’s health. It is common for victims of sexual assault to experience depression. And if such occurs, the survivor is advised to seek professional help as it tends to be a severe mental problem. This issue often starts with some signs which could be used to identify it. Symptoms of depression include loss of appetite, weight loss, lack of energy and so on. Victims suffering from depression usually experience these symptoms and even more.

Psychological & Emotional Disorder: Sexual abuse can lead to disorders that cause shock, unnecessary anxiety and fear. It is normal for victims to experience this. This psychological and emotional disorder could be a huge challenge to a person’s health. Victims of sexual abuse are often psychologically and emotionally destabilized. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) could come in the form of fear, isolation, guilt, helplessness, self- blame, anger, flashbacks and so on.

It Leads to PTSD: PTSD is caused by a traumatic event which leaves the victim in fear. It is an extreme feeling that makes a victim feel in danger or unsafe. People who experience this as a result of sexual abuse find it tiring to adjust or cope with their situation. Victims are diagnosed with PTSD if their trauma and fear triggered as a consequence of the injury persist for an extended period. People with this disorder always feel stressed and afraid even when they are safe or are in a safe area. Individuals who experience this tend to avoid other people or places. And they easily get frightened and angered.  They find it difficult to sleep both at night and during the daytime. And they often harbor negative thoughts about themselves and the outside world.

It Affects a Person’s Developmental Process: Sexual abuse tends to slow the growth process of a person. When a person begins to experience severe anxiety, depression, isolation, disorder and so on, the growth rate of the individuals could get slowed. Victims of sexual abuse are usually tensed, depressed, and filled with fear. As a result of this, it could lead to the lack of proper growth. They also engage in excessive thinking which could also slow the rate at which they grow. Lack of healthy growth occurs mostly in children and teenagers.

Unhealthy Diet Behaviours: Victims of sexual abuse usually get so angered and tensed to the extent that they begin to have an unhealthy or unstable diet. Such victims resort to not eating regularly, abusing diet pills, overeating, starving and so on. Due to their harmful behavior, they begin to lose weight or add unnecessary weight which could sometimes be unhealthy for them.

It Also Leads to the Use of Hazardous Substances: Research has revealed that victims of sexual abuse tend to use toxic substances such as cigarette, alcohol or drugs to stop themselves from having flashbacks of their experience. This is because they often believe that these drugs can help them overcome their trauma. These substances used are always dangerous to their health. And instead of making their situation better it tends to worsen it.

Sexual Abuse Leads to Delinquency and Criminal Behavior: Victims of sexual assault are prone to all sorts of criminal conduct. Those affected tend to get involved in delinquencies due to their experience. Research has also shown that sexually abused children who are not treated properly could end up engaging themselves in criminal behavior when they grow up. They also tend to abuse other people sexually by the time they become an adult.


Sexual abuse brings about adverse effects, including health and physical implications. As a result, sexual violence has made people who are affected to get boxed up in their world, and it is still a threat to our society. So, let us try to help our friends and loved ones when they are sexually abused.

Photo Credit: Senseortal