What are the effects of sexual violence?
There is no “normal” way to cope with the aftermath of sexual violence, but there are many common short and long-term effects. Keep in mind that everyone reacts differently.
Guilt, shame, blame and anger. Survivors may feel angry and direct their anger at people they love and trust, but not really know why. They might feel guilty about not having been able to stop the assault, or blame themselves for what happened.
Self-esteem. Survivors may struggle with low self-esteem, which affects many different areas of life such as relationships, school or career, and health. The survivor may feel overwhelmed, inadequate, or helpless.
Physical and emotional effects. Survivors may experience headaches, digestive issues or other pain, develop sleeping difficulties. They may become anxious or depressed. Some may choose to numb their pain with alcohol, drugs, or other coping behaviours like disordered eating or cutting.
Intimacy and relationships. Survivors may struggle to set boundaries that help them feel safe in relationships. Trusting others may be difficult. Survivors may find challenges with intimacy or communications.
Are there different effects for survivors of childhood sexual abuse?
In some cases, adult survivors experience different effects—especially because of issues of memory and complicated emotions around trusted family members or authority figures.
Do the affects of sexual violence differ based on sex or gender?
For the most part, sexual violence affects people in much the same way, but male survivors sometimes have additional complications related to sexual identity and masculinity.
How does sexual violence affect the folks in the LGBTQ2S community?
There are often additional layers of complexity when looking at the victimization of LGBTQ2S people. Often, their assault is triggered by homophobia, transphobia, hatred, or the false notion that corrective rape (that is, sexually assaulting someone to “make them” into a heterosexual and/or gender binary person) will change a person’s core identity. SSAIC has created specific resources on this topic in conjunction with OUTSaskatoon and with funding by Justice Canada.