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What are the effects of Sexual Violence?

There can be many different effects that survivors experience in the days, weeks, months and years following sexual violence. There is no right or wrong way to respond and each survivor will react differently. Some survivors may be affected in many ways some will be affected by none, however a survivor responds in absolutely normal for them. The following are some of these potential effects:

Physical

  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of energy
  • Gynaecological problems
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • IBS
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Tension
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Fertility problems
  • Decreased immunity
  • Pregnancy

Emotional

  • Anger
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dissociation
  • Nightmares
  • Fear
  • Flashbacks
  • Low self-esteem/confidence
  • OCD
  • Panic attacks
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts/attempts
  • Self-blame
  • Substance/alcohol misuse
  • Sexual problems

You can see Rape Crisis Scotland's leaflet 'Self-harm: information for survivors of sexual violence' here.

You can see Rape Crisis Scotland's leaflet 'Flashbacks' here.

Social

  • Difficulties trusting others
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Parenting problems
  • Withdrawal from social situations
  • Difficulties engaging in education
  • Difficulties engaging in employment
  • Reduced participation in wider community

You can find more information in Rape Crisis Scotland's leaflets 'Coping after Sexual Violence' here and 'Healing from Sexual Violence' here.

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