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Childhood Sexual Abuse and Its Results

Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is among the crimes that have the most tragic consequences for survivors. Psychological trauma can cause depression and even suicidal intentions that a certain amount of victims actually realize. However, CSA can damage not solely mental well-being, but physical as well since the nervous system is intertwined with the other, in particular the endocrine and immune. Research on bodily consequences of sexual assaults, however, remains insufficient, which determines the timeliness of this paper. The case under review is a bright example of how childhood rape can destroy physical health and how essential it is to be aware of this.

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Anne, a resident of Iceland, experienced multiple sexual assaults between her 2-3 and 21 years; the offenders were her father, her stepfather, her friend’s father, and several relatives. Consequently, she has had a variety of bodily health problems “as long as she can remember” (Sigurdardottir & Halldorsdottir, 2018, p. 101). These include chronic pain, digestive issues, repetitive vaginal, abdominal, and urinary tract infections, musculoskeletal, especially back problems, and a range of gynecological disorders that are not common in her family. In her childhood and adolescence, Anne also lost her hearing as well as sight temporarily and suffered from eating disorders. She insists that the cause of the vast majority of those problems is regular severe stress.

Healthcare professionals, however, did not react to Anne’s assumptions about the source of her health issues. Even though some of those, for instance, uterine pain, grew more serious when she started her sexual life at the age of 16, physicians hardly connected this to her traumatizing experience (Sigurdardottir & Halldorsdottir, 2018). Hardly any of them considered her injury; mostly, they were silent and simply prescribed painkillers and antibiotics. Meanwhile, respect towards the patient along with awareness of his or her story is critical for successful treatment since a positive emotional background that catalyzes recovery is impossible otherwise.

To summarize, Anne’s case shows that experiencing sexual violence in childhood and/or adolescence can lead to serious problems with physical health, both immediately and in the future. Nevertheless, this area is dramatically underinvestigated due to the lack of public attention to it. Even healthcare professionals in developed countries do not consider the possible connection between CSA and bodily illness. Therefore, further research on the topic under review is critical.


Sigurdardottir, S., & Halldorsdottir, S. (2018). Screaming body and silent healthcare providers: A case study with a childhood sexual abuse (CSA) survivor. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(1), 94-111. Web.

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