All forms of sexual violence, including rape, child abuse, incest, and similar forms of non-consensual sex. Most sexual violence experts agree that sexual violence is never about sex. Instead, it is often an attempt to gain power over others.
Immediate crisis care after an attack proves valuable and can even save lives. You can report sexual assault by calling your local police. Survivors may wish to undergo a physical examination at the hospital. This treatment can also help people who have suffered sexual abuse in the past. Some therapists specialize in treating sexual assault trauma. Long-term help can help some sexual abuse survivors.
Types of rape and violence
Sexual violence is particularly common among women and girls. 90% of sexual assaults are against women. One in six American women has experienced rape. 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys were molested as children.
Rape and battery are umbrella terms used to refer to many crimes. These offenses include:
Rape: Forced sexual intercourse with someone you do not or cannot consent to. Any act of coercion against a person who does not want to have sex is under the influence of alcohol, or is under the age of consent is considered rape. Date rape is sexual violence that occurs between people in serious relationships. Some states limit the definition of rape to forced sex. However, any form of forced sex can have long-lasting consequences for a person. Many states now recognize rape and other forms of violence as rape.
Child Abuse: Child abuse is any sexual activity with a child. Many children who have been abused are too young to know what is happening and do not fight back. Some abusers use the child's cooperation in these cases as 'proof' that no one was hurt. Examples of child abuse include touching a child or soliciting sex from a child.
Incest: Incest refers to a sexual relationship between relatives who are too close to marriage. Consenting adults can have same-sex sex, but this is not common. The most reported incest appears as child abuse. Recent statistics show that in the United States, more than one-third of sexual assault survivors under the age of 18 are abused by their families. However, because incest is an underreported crime, the actual number of intimate partners may be much higher.
Non-consensual sex: This category includes any unwanted sex, such as touching or squeezing. Attempted rape also falls into this category.
Non-contact sexual violence: Not all sexual violence meets common legal or psychological definitions. For example, it is sexual abuse for a parent to have sex in front of a child or make sexually inappropriate remarks to a child. Revenge porn sites that post nude photos of people without their permission are another form of sexual assault. Sexual violence laws are constantly changing.
Mental health problems caused by sexual assault
After an attack, survivors may feel that their bodies are not their own. Survivors often report feelings of shame, fear, and guilt. Many blame themselves for the attack. Because of the trauma and negative emotions associated with sexual violence, survivors are at risk for mental illness. A survivor of sexual violence may develop into:
Depression: Coping with the loss of bodily autonomy is often difficult. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness or despair. It can also lower a person's self-esteem. Depressive feelings can be mild and temporary or intense and long-lasting.
Anxiety: Loss of body autonomy can also cause severe anxiety. Survivors may fear repeated attacks. Some may have panic attacks. Others may have agoraphobia and a fear of leaving home. In some cases, survivors may develop a chronic fear of the type of person who hurt them. A tall, blond, blue-eyed male abuser may instinctively hate, distrust, or fear all men who fit this description.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Survivors of sexual assault may experience intense memories of the abuse. In some cases, the flashbacks are so disturbing that survivors cannot see their surroundings. People can also develop a related condition called complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). C-PTSD causes chronic separation anxiety in addition to traditional PTSD symptoms. Some people with C-PTSD have personality disorders.
Personality disorder: Sexual abuse can sometimes lead to personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder. The behaviors related to the personality disorder may be an adaptation to the abuse. For example, one characteristic of a borderline personality is the fear of abandonment. This fear can prevent you from adjusting to adulthood. But avoiding abandonment can protect you from childhood sexual abuse.
Attachment Issues: Survivors may have difficulty forming appropriate relationships with others. This is especially true for children who have been abused. Adults who experienced childhood abuse may have unstable attachment patterns. They may have difficulty with intimacy or be too eager to bond.
Addiction: Studies show that survivors of abuse are 26 times more likely to use drugs. Drugs and alcohol can help numb the pain of abuse. However, substance abuse often leads to various problems. Sexual assault doesn't just leave a psychological mark. It can also affect your health in the long run. The person attacked may have bruises and cuts. They can also cause more serious injuries such as cuts, broken bones, and genital injuries. Others may cause chronic pain without an obvious physical cause.
Some survivors experience sexual dysfunction and fertility problems. Others may contract sexually transmitted diseases. Contrary to myth, sexual assault can lead to pregnancy. If a child is pregnant, childbirth can be physically dangerous.