Sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. It is not your fault. Still, the exact definition and use of terms such as “sexual assault” and “rape” are not always clear, which can make having these discussions confusing and difficult. We are here to help.
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact, which includes sexual touching and fondling. This stops short of rape or attempted rape, which involves penetration with any body part or object, no matter how slight. However, it is important to note that each state has varying legal definitions for these crimes.
What are the effects of sexual assault?
A survivor of sexual assault may experience psychological, physical and emotional effects that are difficult to overcome. These include:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Survivors may turn to self-harm to deal with the painful feelings caused by sexual assault.
- Similar to symptoms of PTSD, memories of the past trauma may resurface and make a survivor feel as if they are reoccurring.
- Sexually Transmitted Infections
- STIs can be transferred from person to person regardless of whether the act was consented, unwanted or forced.
- Sexual assault may leave survivors feeling in a constant state of sadness and unhappiness that negatively affects all aspects of their lives.
- Substance Use
- Survivors of sexual assault become increasingly vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse.
- Eating Disorders
- Sexual assault may affect a survivor’s perceived body image and self-esteem, which in turn may affect their eating habits. Survivors may turn to food to cope with with overwhelming emotions. This coping mechanism may cause serious long-term health problems.
- Sleep Disorders
- Survivors of sexual assault may experience sleep disorders, such as nightmares, sleep terrors and insomnia.
Learning more about the effects of sexual assault can help you to uncover the best way to begin your healing process.
We offer a safe place to sort through overwhelming and painful feelings that follow sexual assault. Our compassionate counselors are here when you need us. Give us a call at (320) 223-0503.
Information from: https://www.rainn.org/