I was reading a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association for research in one of my classes recently. The study was done on a on a sample of Australian women between the ages of 16 and 85. I was shocked to see the rate of mental illness among sexual assault survivors and how high it is.
CNN did a report that discussed how 27% of the study participants said they experienced sexual violence or another type of gender-based violence:
“Fifty-seven percent of the women with a history of abuse also had a history of depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, or anxiety (including panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder), versus 28% of the women who had not experienced gender-based violence. Among women who had been exposed to at least three different types of violence, the rate of mental disorders or substance abuse rose to 89%.”
Now, the researchers weren’t able to positively say that there was a DIRECT correlation between sexual violence and mental illness, but that there “is ample evidence” to suggest the correlation.
Now this is just my own conjecture, but maybe past experiences are part of what trigger mental illness later in life. Mental illness can take years to become a full blown issue in many people’s lives. The trauma of a sexually violent act is handled by every person differently.
While I was reading I kept thinking to myself THIS is why places like RCASA exist. This is the work RCASA does. RCASA is there to help you through the painful process of empowering yourself again, taking back your health and wellness…in ALL forms.