This paper uses the method of theory synthesis, primarily from our own previous studies and psychoneuroimmunology research, with the aim of exploring and better understanding the consequences of sexual violence for women and their search for inner healing. The impact of the #MeToo movement is also examined. The main finding is that sexual violence causes persistent suffering for women and girls. In childhood and adolescence, the main consequences include a feeling of unbearable secrecy, threat and humiliation; disconnection of body and soul; great fear and constant insecurity; damaged self-image, self-accusation and guilt; experiencing being compelled to take full responsibility for the crime; as well as various physical and mental health problems, e.g., suicidal thoughts. In adulthood, the consequences are also multifaceted and varied, including vaginal problems, recurrent urinary tract infections, widespread and chronic pain, sleeping problems, chronic back problems, and fibromyalgia, eating disorders, social anxiety, severe depression, and chronic fatigue. In conclusion, sexual violence has these extremely negative and long-term consequences because of the interconnectedness of body, mind, and soul. The seriousness of the consequences makes a trauma-informed approach to services essential to support the healing and improved health and well-being of survivors.
About The Author
Sigrun Sigurdardottir,Sigridur Halldorsdottir