Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent. Most victims and perpetrators know each other. Immediate reactions to sexual abuse include shock, fear or disbelief. Long-term symptoms include anxiety, fear or post-traumatic stress disorder. While efforts to treat sex offenders remain unpromising, psychological interventions for survivors — especially group therapy — appears effective.
Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology
What You Can Do
Open Up! Writing About Trauma Reduces Stress, Aids Immunity
Writing about difficult, even traumatic, experiences appears to be good for health on several levels - raising immunity and other health measures and improving life functioning.
Recovering emotionally from disaster
Understanding the emotions and normal responses that follow a disaster or other traumatic event can help you cope with your feelings, thoughts and behaviors – and can help you on the path to recovery.
- Find a Psychologist
The Effects of Trauma Do Not Have to Last a Lifetime
Most people will experience a trauma at some point in their lives, and as a result, some will experience debilitating symptoms that interfere with daily life. The good news is that psychological interventions are effective in preventing many long-term effects.
Protecting Our Children From Abuse and Neglect
A brochure written for parents, teachers, relatives and those who care for children on how to recognize and prevent child abuse and neglect. Provides information on causes and what happens to abused and neglected children.
Questions and Answers about Memories of Childhood Abuse
Tips to help you better understand how repressed, recovered or suggested memories may occur and what you can do if you or a family member is concerned about a childhood memory.
Related APA Publications
Study: rape prevention training works, cuts sex assault risk
June 12, 2015, Fox News
Sexual violence against children is a worldwide problem
June 4, 2015, Time
Campus sex crime reporting nearly doubled in last five years
May 6, 2015, Fox News