The Long-Term Effects of Sexual Abuse

Upset Women

Sexual abuse and assault can have devastating physical, emotional, and psychological effects on a survivor. This is often true since the majority of sexual violence crimes are committed by someone close to the survivor, such as a family member, coach, teacher, or doctor.

Below, our Michigan attorneys discuss some of the long-term effects of sexual abuse.

The Consequences of Sexual Violence

Sexual violence can impact a survivor physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Physical Effects

Sexual abuse and assault can have lasting physical effects, including the following:

  • Broken bones, bruising, or lacerations
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Pregnancy

While many of the physical effects of sexual abuse can be resolved over time, they often cause long-lasting psychological and emotional turmoil for the survivor.

Emotional Effects

Sexual abuse and assault can have various emotional effects on a survivor, including the following:

  • Depression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Withdrawal
  • Guilt or shame
  • Anxiety

While many of these consequences can be improved with therapy, some emotional effects can be difficult for survivors to shake. Additionally, not everyone has access to high-quality rehabilitative services that would help them cope with their trauma.

Psychological Effects

The psychological effects of sexual abuse can be severe and lifelong. These may include the following:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Sleep disorders
  • Self-harm
  • Substance abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Flashbacks

A licensed therapist may be able to help some survivors work through such trauma. However, some instances of sexual abuse and assault may have consequences so severe that survivors may live with them for the rest of their lives.

One element that can make instances of sexual abuse all the more devastating is when it occurs at the hands of a family member, trusted mentor, or authority figure.

Sex Abuse Controversy at the University of Michigan

Such a violation of trust has occurred close to home here in Michigan. Former U of M physician Robert E. Anderson has been accused of multiple instances of sexual abuse by the school’s alumni.

Despite the fact that Anderson’s sexual abuse was an open secret from the 1960s to the 2000s, he remained employed with the university all that time.

In fact, after he was allegedly fired in 1979 for “fooling around with male students,” he was not actually fired, but rather moved to another position in the Athletic Department where he was allowed unfettered access to athletes who needed mandatory physicals or treatment.

Anderson’s abuse continued to go unanswered because athletes in these sports were mandated to go see him as part of their training and were made to feel as though they could not speak up against the abuse, almost as if it was “a rite of passage.” These athletes also knew their scholarships were in jeopardy if they did not remain quiet about the abuse. 

Experienced Sexual Abuse? We’re Here to Help

If you have experienced sexual abuse or assault at the hands of Robert E. Anderson or someone else, our team is here to help you seek justice.

We represented one-third of the first wave of plaintiffs in the Larry Nassar case and achieved a $500 million settlement for them. While each case is different, we know what it takes to fight for justice in situations like these. We’re here to help you through the process.

Contact Grewal Law PLLC today at (888) 211-5798 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with our team.

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