25 Key Effects of Abuse, Molestation & Rape

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the 25 effects of abuse, molestation and rape.

First a quick update:

The Breakup Test
Are you heartbroken, angry, lost, lonely, confused, depressed, hung up, or pining over your ex? Do you know how your ex is truly affecting you and do you want to benefit from personalize advice, action steps and revelations? Take my free breakup test and get your own personalized report. 

Corey Feldman Is A Scam Artist – says Corey Haim’s mother
Corey Feldman has announced a “truth campaign” to expose an alleged network of pedophiles working in Hollywood, but he wants $10 million to make a movie about it. Why not just tell the police everything you know? 

Now, let’s talk about the 25 effects of abuse, molestation and rape.

Over decades of working with so many victims, I’ve created a list of the 25 symptoms – the consequences, signs, impact and effects, that sexual harassment and sexual abuse has on its victims.

These 25 effects of abuse, molestation and rape are not in any particular order and they may not all necessarily apply to every victim.

1: A Feeling Of Being Dirty And Tainted
It’s a hard feeling to describe because it’s not like saying, ‘Oh, my feet are dirty, let me wash them’; it’s a sense that the entire body is dirty and that the entire body cannot be washed or cleansed.

2: Shame
Along with that dirty or tainted feeling comes probably the most common symptom or consequence of having been sexually abused, harassed, assaulted, raped or molested: The feeling of shame.

Incidentally, almost every one of us has some level of shame; we believe subconsciously, “There’s something wrong with me; I’m bad.” This volume of shame gets turned all the way up when someone experiences any form of sexual harassment or abuse.


There’s a part of us that automatically accepts full responsibility for what was done to us: ‘If it happened, it must be my fault.’ And so it turns into shame. There is, of course, a difference between shame and guilt. Guilt is ‘I did something bad’; shame is ‘I am bad.’

3: Self-Sabotage
When a person believes ‘It’s my fault, therefore there’s something wrong with me’, then he/she will engage in self-sabotage and self-destructive behavior. If you believe that you are either innately bad or you’ve done something bad, then you’ll want to subconsciously punish yourself.

4: Isolation
Shame leads to isolation and withdrawal. When a person feels shame and thinks ‘there is something wrong with me’, he/she hides.

There is a feeling of being isolated as well as wanting to isolate oneself.

5: Powerlessness & Helplessness
There is a feeling that your world is out of control. You feel helpless, powerless and that you have no control over your life, the same way that you felt powerless during the abuse.

6: No Voice
Remember that the subconscious mind is making most of these conclusions and interpretations. So a victim will turn around and at some subconscious level will believe ‘I don’t have a voice. I can’t speak I can’t be heard.’

7: Invisibility
‘My emotions don’t count. What I want doesn’t count. My opinion doesn’t count. I don’t count.’

8: Feelings Of Worthlessness
This is the core effect or consequence of abuse – the feeling and subconscious belief “I am worthless, not good enough, unlovable.”

9: Cognitive difficulties & Impaired Brain Development
Trauma affects the development of the brain. It can result in smaller amygdala and smaller hippocampus which, in turn, negatively affects emotional control, emotional processing, decision-making and memory. The trauma can also cause constant hyper-arousal (elevated periods of fear), anxiety and aggressive behavior. Download the PDF about the effects on the child’s developing brain – Effects of abuse & maltreatment on brain development

10: People-Pleasing
This is reflected in the subconscious belief ‘Everyone else’s desire is more important than me and more important than my desire.’ Thus, victims of abuse will become people-pleasers. The same effect can happen to a child who witnessed abuse and felt responsible to save, rescue or protect a parent or sibling who was being abused

11: No one understands me
Unless you have experienced it, you won’t fully understand what the victim has experienced. However, there are also the subconscious beliefs: ‘I’m different; there’s something wrong with me; I’m damaged goods; I’m tainted and dirty. How is anyone going to understand me?’ The victim also doesn’t fully understand herself in terms of what she actually experienced and what impact it has had on her.

12: Confusion & Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive dissonance is when there are two conflicting or contradictory thoughts, beliefs or values that are trying to exist within your mind.

’This person is my boss (or I thought this person was my friend or I thought that the intention of this meeting was business); how could this person treat me this way? How could this person act this way with me? He or she is not the person that I thought he or she is or was…I thought I was safe VS I am not safe…’

In the case of children who were molested by a parent, step parent or trusted adult, the cognitive dissonance is, ‘I had an image of this person and now that image is shattered, and I thought this person was my protector, I see them now as being the persecutor; I see them as being the perpetrator; I see them as being the person that’s hurting me when they supposed to be protecting me from being hurt.’

One male client who was sexually molested by a female baby sitter when he was 8 years of age experienced cognitive dissonance: “I enjoyed the attention and the touch and I became aroused, and, I hated it and felt dirty and violated.”

You can also experience cognitive dissonance towards yourself as you become confused about your self-image: ‘Who am I?’

I experienced the same thing, not just at the radio school, but when I was hitchhiking and this man tried to rape me. I experienced cognitive dissonance thinking that people could be trusted: I was an 18-year-old thinking, ‘This man is married; he has a wedding ring on his finger – surely, he can be trusted; does he drive around looking for young boys to assault?…It is okay to dress in a sexually confident manner VS it’s provoking sexual invitations by dressing sexually confident…etc.”

13: Sexual Enjoyment And Sexual Disgust – Hyper Sexualization
I experienced these conflicting thoughts and conflicting desires: ‘I enjoy sex because it’s a natural part of the human state; I’m disgusted by sex because of the association that I have with it because of the intense emotional trauma and pain I experienced.’

And as I gave that example of the woman that became a prostitute, in some cases it can turn into extreme sexual desire (hyper sexualization even at a very young age – adolescence or pre-adolescence) followed by extreme sexual disgust and even self-disgust.

There ends up being disturbances of desire, arousal, and orgasm: there can be blocks to having an orgasm or even after experiencing an orgasm in a loving relationship, in a relationship of consensual sex, the experience of orgasm turns into an experience of disgust and self-disgust.

14: The Fear of Retaliation
‘Am I safe? What will happen if I speak? Will I be rejected, hurt, punished, etc.?’

15: Lack of Trust
Someone whose trust has been betrayed finds it extraordinarily challenging and difficult to trust again; they shut down and no longer trust anyone.

16: Chronic and Diffuse Pain
Referring to the physical body, there is chronic and diffuse pain. In the case of women, it’s often manifested as abdominal or pelvic pain; sometimes it can it can result in having a lower threshold of pain, and little things can trigger the sensations in the body of physical pain or physical hurt. A person who is very self-aware might say, ‘I feel this pain in this part of my body, yet I don’t feel like it’s a physical pain; I know it has a deeper root.’

17: Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety is the feeling that your world is out of control coupled with the attempt to try to control something which you can’t control. So a victim of sexual harassment, abuse, molestation or rape will always feel anxious because she will feel constant fear or powerful episodes of fear, persistently feeling that her world is out of control because she doesn’t feel safe and doesn’t believe that she has control over her own world.

18: Self-Neglect – Eating Disorders, Addiction & Alcoholism
If you believe you are dirty, tainted, damaged or that there’s something wrong with you, and you feel guilty or ashamed, then you’re going to neglect yourself; you’re not going to take care of yourself, and in turn, that can also lead to eating disorders or addiction. You think that there’s something constantly wrong with your body; you think maybe if my body could change then ‘I won’t be dirty, I won’t be damaged, I’ll be lovable.’ The compulsive behavior and distraction can also be a way to escape the pain. You might also turn to eating and food as a way to comfort yourself and escape the pain of the abuse.

Addiction and alcoholism are also attempts to try to escape the pain of everything that I’m here describing.

19: Repeating The Pattern Of Victimization
Because you subconsciously believe: ‘I’m guilty; I’m ashamed; there’s something wrong with me’, you then subconsciously conclude ‘I must deserve this treatment; I deserve to be exploited or I have nothing else to offer.’

That also connects to what I refer to as Twisted Love – a twisted definition of love – the definition of love that is subconsciously formed based on negative experiences.

20: Lack of Discernment
An inability to become discerning about other people even though you don’t trust. You lose your ability to become discerning over other people’s intentions and motivations.

21: Obstacles With Intimacy & Relationships
You find it difficult to be physically or emotionally intimate, and you have a tendency to become relationship avoidant. It can also be evident as the inability to engage in fulfilling relationships, often as the result of self-sabotage, feelings of worthlessness and feelings of being unlovable.

22: Self-Doubt
Self-doubt permeates your world – you question your talents, abilities, decisions and self-worth. You question if you are the cause of what was done to you. In one of my many experiences with sexual harassment, I was offered a dream job at age 21 – to travel the world interviewing celebrities. The catch was I would need to also sleep with the man hiring me on a regular basis, whenever he would call me to tell me, “I need to release some stress.” Although I turned down the job, it still created self-doubt – ‘Is he offering me the job because of sex or because of my talent in interviewing?’

23: Self-Loathing
The feelings of being dirty, tainted, guilty, shameful and worthlessness result in loathing yourself (hating and being disgusted with yourself) – albeit at a subconscious level.

24: Anger, Aggression, Abusive or Violent Behaviors
You are angry and/or aggressive; often you cannot pinpoint the cause; you lash out at people; sometimes you become violent or abusive towards others. It is common for childhood victims of abuse to engage in the same abusive behavior when they become adults.

25: Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors
Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are motivated by 3 key factors: “Desire to die based on psychological isolation (loneliness and disconnection – shame) and/or emotional or physical pain; burdensomeness to the rest of the world (lack of value and significance); power of fearlessness to override the instinct to survive and flee death.” https://www.patrickwanis.com/10-signs-depression-insight-suicide/

If you need personal help to overcome abuse, molestation or rape, I have devised a special therapy technique where you do not have to relive the trauma to be set free from it – book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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