The individual, interpersonal, and societal impacts of sexual violence are consistently minimized and consequently overlooked. Sexual violence deeply affects those who have experienced it, their families, friends, partners, and anyone who cares for them. The impacts of sexual violence are complex and multi-faceted. Effectively responding to, and preventing sexual violence, requires a strong understanding of its far-reaching impacts.
Impact on Survivors
The impact of sexual violence on survivors can vary greatly, not only from person to person, but also throughout a survivor’s lifetime. Traumatic experiences do not occur in isolation, they are embedded within the context of a survivor’s life – against the backdrop of varied experiences of support and adversity.
Survivors of sexual violence can experience a range of physical, emotional, and psychological short- and long-term impacts. Traumatic experiences can shift a person’s sense of safety, trust, self-esteem, intimacy, and control which can continue to impact all aspects of a survivor’s life long after the abuse has stopped. Trauma is life-altering. But people can integrate their experiences of trauma and find safety, stability, healing, and growth.