Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent. Most victims and perpetrators know each other. Immediate reactions to sexual abuse include shock, fear or disbelief. Long-term symptoms include anxiety, fear or post-traumatic stress disorder. While efforts to treat sex offenders remain unpromising, psychological interventions for survivors — especially group therapy — appears effective.
Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology
What You Can Do
Open Up! Writing About Trauma Reduces Stress, Aids Immunity
Writing about difficult, even traumatic, experiences appears to be good for health on several levels - raising immunity and other health measures and improving life functioning.
Recovering emotionally from disaster
Understanding the emotions and normal responses that follow a disaster or other traumatic event can help you cope with your feelings, thoughts and behaviors – and can help you on the path to recovery.
- Find a Psychologist
The Effects of Trauma Do Not Have to Last a Lifetime
Most people will experience a trauma at some point in their lives, and as a result, some will experience debilitating symptoms that interfere with daily life. The good news is that psychological interventions are effective in preventing many long-term effects.
Sexual assault: Who are likely victims?
December 11, 2014, USA TODAY
Professors say new sexual assult policy is one-sided
October 15, 2014, NPR
Monitor on Psychology Articles
Rape takes global toll on women's lives, study finds
More support needed for trauma intervention
‘I swore I’d never tell’
Porn use and child abuse