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. 

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