Sexual Abuse and Its Effects on Mental Health

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Sexual Abuse and Its Effects on Mental Health Millie Holt Rufus English Composition II – 1102 Professor Lockard June 16, 2012 Sexual abuse is the topic I have chosen to research, focusing on the mental health effects that it causes. Sexual abuse as defined in the Encyclopedia of Psychology is, “unwanted sexual activity with perpetrators using force, making threats, or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent” (12Ma19). After such a traumatic experience the victim usually suffers from mental health related illnesses such as, anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and major affective disorders. While it appears that most sexual abuse is a physical crime against the body, it is also a crime that affects the victim mentally causing problems throughout their adult lives. Sexual abuse leaves both behavior and physical signs. Some signs are complaints of genital or anal pain. Irritation, bleeding, and bruising to thighs are also some signs. Most likely the victim has been handled roughly since the attack is about the abuser’s satisfaction, so the victim may also have difficulty in walking or sitting for long periods of time. Sexually transmitted diseases/infections and blood in the victim’s clothing are also signs of sexual abuse. Abuse victims may also show inappropriate sexual behavior (12Ma20). Sexual abuse is a traumatic experience and causes long term mental illness. It can occur during childhood but can lead to mental health illnesses that can follow the victim into adulthood. This leads to problems in the victims relationships because they relate their relationships to the experiences they’ve undergone with their abuser. Victims sometimes require therapy to cope with their problems. Sexual abuse places people in the position to develop mental illness especially if they know their abuser. Anxiety, depression, and personality
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