Understanding and Addressing Violence Against Women Part 2 - Mental Health Effects

Both physical and sexual violence have been linked to a greater risk of adverse mental health outcomes among women. The most prevalent include depression, suicide attempts, post-traumatic stress disorder, other stress and anxiety disorders, sleeping or eating disorders and psychosomatic disorders. Physical and sexual abuse in childhood have also been associated with a host of subsequent risk behaviors, including early sexual activity; alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse; multiple sexual partners; choosing abusive partners later in life; and lower rates of contraceptive and condom use (21,29). Women who report a history of early sexual abuse often report feelings of worthlessness and difficulty distinguishing sexual from affectionate behavior, maintaining appropriate personal boundaries, and refusing unwanted sexual advances. Studies have consistently linked a history of child sexual abuse with a higher risk of experiencing sexual violence later in life.

The DASAS team takes this subject on in today's episode.

The abuse takes many forms, including:

  • intimate partner violence (sometimes called domestic or family violence, or spousal abuse) which can be physical, sexual or emotional;

  • dating violence;

  • sexual violence (including rape) by strangers, acquaintances or partners;

  • systematic rape during armed conflict;

  • forced prostitution, trafficking or other forms of sexual exploitation;

  • female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful traditional practices;

  • dowry-related violence;

  • forced marriage or cohabitation, including forced wife inheritance and ‘wife kidnapping’;

  • femicide and the killing girls or women in the name of ‘honor’;

  • female infanticide and deliberate neglect of girls.

If you need resources or help in any way, call our 24 hour hotline at 800-828-2023 or visit www.DASASMI.org.

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The mission of Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services is to lead efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault in southwest Michigan. 

We will assist domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in clarifying their options, accessing community services that support personal choice and will provide a safe place for survivors and their children.  It is our strong desire to walk alongside survivors on their journey, whatever that may look like. 

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