What are the effects of sexualized violence?

There is no “normal” way to cope with the aftermath of sexualized violence, but there are many common short and long-term effects. Keep in mind that everyone reacts differently, and all reactions are normal to the abnormal circumstances.

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 self-harm.

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 the effects different for survivors of childhood sexual abuse?

In some cases, adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse can experience different impacts; the age at which the abuse occurred, who the perpetrator of the abuse was, and the frequency or severity of abuse can all impact a survivor differently, regardless of their age.

Do the affects of sexualized violence differ based on sex or gender?

For the most part, sexualized violence affects people in much the same way, but male survivors sometimes have additional impacts related to masculinity and identity.

How does sexualized 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” heterosexual and/or a 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.

How do I get support if I’m feeling any of these impacts?

SSAIC provides individual and group counselling, as well as crisis support. Contact our office to speak with an intake counsellor or call our crisis line for some immediate support.