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Consequences & Effects

Victims hardly disclose that they have been sexually abused. Even when they do disclose, they run the risk of being accused of complicity, especially when force is not used. This is especially true in the African setting where there is also societal pressure, as well as pressure from the family to cover up the abuse. The fear of stigmatisation, rejection and labelling as spoilt goods, especially for female-child victims, further fuels this silence. The child is therefore left feeling betrayed, traumatized and suffering any of the following consequences:

Effects of CSA

  1. Physical effects where the effects can be physically seen eg pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, rashes on private parts etc
  2. Emotional/Behavioral effects: depression, guilt, rebellion, drop in school grades, change in eating habits.
  3. Inappropriate sexual behavior: sexual knowledge above age, sexual promiscuity.
  4. Drug & alcohol abuse: major source of escapism for 70-80% of victims.
  5. Changes in interactions with people: fear of certain people, difficulty trusting

Generally speaking anyone of the following may be experienced:

  1. feelings of guilt and shame
  2. depression & withdrawal from previously enjoyable activities or people
  3. Low self-esteem and worth
  4. persistent nightmares without explanation
  5. fear of certain people and places
  6. unexplained anger, rebellion and violence
  7. Bed wetting
  8. eating disorders as adolescents
  9. writing, drawing, or dreaming of sexual or frightening images
  10. drop in school performance
  11. suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts
  12. drug and alcohol use
  13. Preoccupation with sex, masturbation or pornography
  14. Sexual promiscuity
  15. Teen pregnancy
  16. There is also the possibility of also being a sexual abuser