Sexual Abuse: What is Sexual Abuse and How to Get Help for Sexual Abuse
What is Sexual Abuse?
Sexual Abuse is sexual behavior exhibited by a person or another that is not acceptable or desired and makes use of force or compulsion. When force is used on a person while exhibiting sexual behavior, it is referred to as sexual assault. It is also referred to as molestation.
It includes the following acts:
- Touching in an inappropriate manner.
- Sexual intercourse without consent or where consent is obtained by compulsion.
- Penetration orally, vaginally, or anally without consent or where consent is obtained by compulsion.
- Rape or attempted rape.
- Exposing one’s private parts to others
- Harassment of a person verbally or by showing visual images.
- Harassment of a person by someone in a position of power or authority coercing them to comply or give consent.
- Abuse of children.
Is sexual abuse common?
Yes, unfortunately, sexual abuse is very common. It is estimated that every 98 seconds, someone becomes the victim of sexual abuse. 1 in 6 women have reported being a victim of a sexual assault, and 1 in 33 men have said they had been sexually assaulted. 1 in 2 transgender persons has been victims of sexual assault.
Effects of sexual abuse
Sexual abuse is a terrible thing to happen to anyone. Apart from the physical effect, it leaves behind serious mental effects. It can have effects on the mental health of the victim. Those who have been sexually abused have reported the following issues:
- Depression is a common effect experienced by most victims.
- It can cause post-traumatic stress disorders, where feelings of anxiety and fear are caused by memories of the act.
- It can lead to a situation wherein the victim tries to harm himself or herself and can even lead to attempted suicide.
- It may lead to concerns about becoming pregnant
- Those who have been sexually abused can get into substance abuse and get addicted to nicotine or drugs.
- It can lead to eating disorders.
- Victims have face sleep problems with difficulty in getting sleep.
- It can affect the victim’s education or career.
Child sexual abuse
A very serious issue is sexual abuse of children. In most cases, this is done by a person known to them who takes advantage of their relationship and exploits the innocence of the child. Every year more than 3 million children in the US become victims of sexual abuse. A child abuse incident occurs once every 10 seconds.
Victims of child abuse can experience severe psychological issues, which may be carried forward to adulthood. Studies have shown that victims of child abuse can face health issues like cardiac problems, COPD and it can even lead to reduce life-expectancy.
How to get help for sexual abuse?
If you feel that you are the victim of sexual abuse or if you know someone who is facing sexual abuse, then call 911 immediately and report the issue to the police. This is a criminal act and seeking the help of the law enforcement authorities is suggested.
The victim of the sexual abuse needs to be taken to a safe place to prevent him or her from being attacked again by the perpetrator. They may need to get medical help and need to be taken to a hospital.
There are various helplines available, where victim are provided every sort of assistance, including counseling. The National Sexual Assault Hotline can be contacted on 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). The helpline works 24/7.
When sexual abuse happens with a spouse, it comes under domestic violence. Victims can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). They can also help find shelters for victims.
The main point is that no one needs to tolerate sexual abuse. It is a crime, and you can get help immediately.
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