Medicine

Fast Facts: Preventing Sexual Violence

This post originally appeared on MedLine Plus.

Sexual violence consequences are physical, like bruising and genital injuries, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy (for women) and psychological, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

The consequences may be chronic. Survivors may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and experience re-occurring reproductive, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and sexual health problems.

Sexual violence is also linked to negative health behaviors. Sexual violence survivors are more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol, use drugs, and engage in risky sexual activity.

The trauma from sexual violence may impact a survivor’s employment in terms of time off from work, diminished performance, job loss, or inability to work. These issues disrupt earning power and have a long-term effect on the economic well-being of survivors and their families. Coping and completing everyday tasks after victimization can be challenging. Survivors may have difficulty maintaining personal relationships, returning to work or school, and regaining a sense of normalcy.

Additionally, sexual violence is connected to other forms of violence. For example, girls who have been sexually abused are more likely to experience additional sexual violence and violence types and become victims of intimate partner violence in adulthood. Bullying perpetration in early middle school is linked to sexual harassment perpetration in high school.

This post originally appeared on MedLine Plus.