Victims of Sex Abuse

Posted: October 17th, 2013

Victims of Sex Abuse




Victims of Sex Abuse

Sexual abuse is defined as the act of sexual molestation. It is also defined as undesirable sexual action propagated against another individual against his or her will or knowledge. Sexual abuse is widely propagated against children because of their inability to protect themselves. Additionally, it is propagated against children because of their susceptibility in terms of vulnerability presented by the lack of adult care or absence of caretakers (Rowan, 2006). On the other hand, sexual abuse is also instigated against adults who are unable to protect themselves because of their vulnerable situations or circumstances.

Additionally, sexual abuse in the contemporary society is inclined to one gender, women. Additionally sexual abuses are widely instigated against women around the world because of their vulnerability brought about by their gender. However, sexual abuse is not limited or confined to gender or age as men are also subjected to sexual abuse instigated by male counterparts, as well as their female counterparts in varying social setting, such as the workplace and social venues (Levenkron, & Levenkron, 2007). The effects of sexual abuse instigated in childhood are evident in adulthood even with the use of professional help to mitigate such effects. Sexual abuse in adulthood can be dealt with adequately using professional help.

Behavior :

One of the most profound effects is the presence of behavioral changes in individuals who have been subjected to any form of sexual abuse. Change is used by individuals as a mechanism for ensuring future safety as well as a mechanism for dealing with such events. Substance use and abuse is widely used means for dealing with the stress associated with sexual abuse (Rowan, 2006). Alcohol and drugs are used as a means for entering into a world of oblivion and forgetfulness to forget the trauma associated with sexual abuse. victims exposed to sexual abuse are accustomed to using psychoactive drugs. Sexual abuse has detrimental effects since it has the potency to result in avid use of psychoactive drugs leading to unwanted dependency of use of such drugs. Smoking is a habit adopted as a means of calming the nerves with intake of nicotine and other chemicals found in tobacco. Hence, psychoactive drugs are widely used by victims as they view that they are targets of attack for sexual abuse (Healey, 2003).

Obesity and eating disorders are also other behavioral changes, which are related to cognitive or psychological effects form sexual abuse (Levenkron, & Levenkron, 2007). Obesity according to research is a common issue among adults who were at one time in their childhood subject to sexual abuse. Issues such as bulimia in adult women are because of sexual abuse in childhood. Hence, women tend to eat more as a means of coping with the trauma and stress associated from the past incidences. Suicide is also another effect usually associated with sexual abuse. Suicidal tendencies and ideation are usually strong indicators of the presence of deep-rooted trauma in individuals resulting from sexual abuse. This is usually common in adolescents and adults. Such is usually considered as an escapist ideal adopted to turn away from the trauma and troubles associated with sexual abuse.

High-risk sexual behavior is usually associated with individuals who experienced sexual abuse at a younger age. Individuals who are exposed or introduced to sexual activity at younger ages are usually exposed to sexual activity. Hence, they have the potency to engage in promiscuous behavior such as having multiple sexual partners, unprotected sexual intercourse with the possibility of transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Hence, the risks of contraction of sexually transmitted disease by individuals with a high level of sexual encounters.

Sleeping difficulties and insomnia are other problems associated with sexual abuse. Sleep is not regarded as a behavioral component but has a significant effect on the behavior of an individual (Koenig, 2004). Lack of sleep or inadequacies of the same lead to the reduction of productivity in schools and workplace settings. Additionally, it results in behaviors such as hostility associated with nightmares and lack of sleep. Furthermore, hallucinations in terms of reoccurrence of incidents, which lead to sexual abuse, are also issues, which also contribute to lack of sleep or inadequate sleep among victims of sexual abuse. Hence, when sleeping patterns are interrupted individuals usually result to use of drugs and dependency on the same to get sleep. Failure to get drugs for sleep results in violent and hostile behavior. It essentially results in drug abuse (Tackett, 2002).

Social interactions:

Social interactions by the victims are disrupted and interpreted in a large number of ways. Social relations essentially enable the ability of individuals to survive and progress in life. Hence, sexual abuse victims are usually wary of their surroundings and unable to form bonds with people. This is because of their perception of the reoccurrence of the initial events leading up to sexual abuse. Additionally, they are unable to form as well as maintain any form of relation established in their interactions with the society (Healey, 2003).. Social interactions are inhibited by thoughts of re-victimization by strangers and family members or friends who are well known by the victims.

Essentially sexual abuse results in low self-esteem thus necessitating individuals to contemplate suicide as they have a low self worth or value. Low self-esteem could lead to reduced social interactions productivity in workplaces and schools and reduced interest in relations with spouses, friends and family members. Hence, strained relationships with people around the victims are usually because of sexual abuse. This is actualized due to the lack of trust for others, decreased self worth, and distorted self-image. In addition, high-risk sexual behavior is another effect of sexual abuse amongst victims of sexual abuse. High-risk sexual behavior is a documented aspect amongst victims of sexual abuse.


Individual cognitive abilities and perceptions are altered partially or completely by any form of sexual abuse. Such has effects on individual judgment and social interactions, which are essentially vital aspects in an individual’s life (Tackett, 2002). Sexual abuse results in a view or notion by the victims about the world as an entire connection of corrupt systems. Interpersonal relations are determined by the individual perception about social interaction based on individual experiences accrued from sexual abuse. Hence, sexual abuse victims usually develop a distanced approach from the development of emotions in their interactions with people. Emotions form a significant part of development of relations especially if such relationships require intimacy.

            Depression is usually a common effect accrued from sexual abuse. Victims usually develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Tackett, 2002). It usually has a detrimental effect on the health of a sexual abuse victim. This takes the form of flashbacks and reflections about the past events of the sexual abuse act. This usually affects individuals who experienced sexual abuse when they were children given that they were helpless and unable to entangle themselves from such experiences. Additionally, it becomes severe if such experiences were actualized severally against the victim (Tackett, 2002).

In conclusion, sexual abuse should be addressed after occurrence to provide immediate professional help for mitigating the effects, which traverse individual social interactions and relations, individual cognitive abilities that influence the behavior exhibited by an individual or victim after sexual abuse.



Healey, J. (2003). Sexual abuse. Rozelle, N.S.W: Spinney Press.

Koenig, L. J. (2004). From child sexual abuse to adult sexual risk: Trauma, re-victimization, and intervention. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Levenkron, S., & Levenkron, A. (2007). Stolen tomorrows: Understanding and treating women’s childhood sexual abuse. New York: W.W. Norton.

Rowan, E. L. (2006). Understanding child sexual abuse. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press.

Tackett, K.K. (2002). “The Health Effects of Childhood Abuse: Four Pathways by which Abuse Can Influence Health” Child Abuse and Neglect, 6/7, Pp. 715-730.

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