For victims, the effects of child sexual abuse can be devastating.Victims may feel significant distress and display a wide range of psychological symptoms, both short- and long-term.Cognitive reprocessing is the process of taking the facts and forming a logical conclusion from them that is less influenced by shame or guilt.Most rape survivors cannot be reassured enough that what happened to them is "not their fault." This helps them fight through shame and feel safe, secure, and grieve in a healthy way."In day-to-day life, when people are shamed and angry they tend to be motivated to get back at a person and get revenge." In addition, shame is connected to psychological problems – such as eating disorders, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders as well as problematic moral behavior.In one study over several years, shame-prone children were also prone to substance abuse, earlier sexual activity, less safe sexual activity, and involvement with the criminal justice system.
Survivors who experience behavioral self-blame feel that they should have done something differently, and therefore feel at fault.In the short-term (up to two years), victims may exhibit regressive behaviors (e.g., thumb-sucking and bed-wetting in younger children), sleep disturbances, eating problems, behavior and/or performance problems at school, and unwillingness to participate in school or social activities (p.4).Longer-term effects may be wide-ranging, to include anxiety-related, self-destructive behaviors such as alcoholism or drug abuse, anxiety attacks, and insomnia (p.4).In Ethiopia, 6% of raped schoolgirls reported having attempted suicide.
They also feel embarrassed to talk about what had happened to them.
Some victims may appear to be free of the above symptoms (page 168).