The effects/side effects/after effects of sexual abuse are numerous, we know that, even if we have never experienced abuse of this nature or studied it out, we can at least give mental assent to or acknowledge that it would have a profound impact. Carol Boulaware summaries the Major Long-Term Psychological Symptoms of Sexual Abuse as
Stress disorders – PTSD
Not trying to be over simplistic, but we can summaries that in a single word. STRESS.
I once heard Dr John King define stress as
I recently read an article by the American Psychological Association, that I found very helpful, primarily because of its simplicity, it was entitled:
The article starts by stating:
Stress occurs when you perceive that demands placed on you — such as work, school or relationships — exceed your ability to cope. Some stress can be beneficial at times, producing a boost that provides the drive and energy to help people get through situations like exams or work deadlines. However, an extreme amount of stress can have health consequences, affecting the immune, cardiovascular and neuroendocrine and central nervous systems, and take a severe emotional toll.
It goes on and gives what the APA calls ‘healthy techniques’ to help reduce stress in the short and long term:
Take a break from the stressor. It may seem difficult to get away from a big work project, a crying baby or a growing credit card bill.
Exercise. The research keeps growing — exercise benefits your mind just as well as your body. We keep hearing about the long-term benefits of a regular exercise routine.
Smile and laugh. Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. When people are stressed, they often hold a lot of the stress in their face. So laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension and improve the situation.
Get social support. Call a friend, send an email. When you share your concerns or feelings with another person, it does help relieve stress.
Meditate. Meditation and mindful prayer help the mind and body to relax and focus. Mindfulness can help people see new perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness. When practicing a form of mindfulness, people can release emotions that may have been causing the body physical stress. Much like exercise, research has shown that even meditating briefly can reap immediate benefits.