Sexual harassment of women is a trait of a regressive society, and unfortunately, our society is laced with this trait, as the number of harassment cases has been increasing at a rapid pace. The dawn of the #MeToo movement has made harassment a mainstream issue and has established that women are harassed everywhere, including workplaces, public places, and even homes.
As a result, more and more women are raising their voices against harassment and filing lawsuits by hiring competent attorneys such as sexual harassment lawyer Ravi Sattiraju. Below are six of the most common adverse effects of sexual harassment on women to be aware of as you deal with this issue.
Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression are some of the most destructive forms of mental illnesses because they eat up the sufferers from the inside and do not have any apparent signs. Women who are harassed feel anxious around people when they are in situations that remind them of their harassers. When this continues for long periods of time, they tend to fall into depression. This is backed up by empirical evidence, as several studies have recorded that women who have experienced sexual advances in their lives are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
Women who are sexually harassed suffer from poor self-esteem as such experiences make them realize that they do not have full control over their bodies. Therefore, when harassment continues to happen, they delve deeper and deeper into the mire of low self-esteem.
Instances of sexual harassment stick with women even if they feel benign to the onlooker, and as a result, women tend to stay from gatherings and places where they feel vulnerable to abuse. Moreover, they also avoid doing activities and meeting people that remind them of their harassment episodes.
Poor eating habits
People respond to stress and anxiety differently in terms of their eating habits, as some tank up on unhealthy foods and gain a tremendous amount of weight, while others lose their appetite and get incredibly lean. Women who suffer sexual harassment face a tremendous amount of stress and poor self-esteem, and therefore, they stop caring for how they look and develop unhealthy eating habits.
Our body generates a stress hormone called cortisol when the brain perceives that a person is feeling anxious or threatened. Therefore, women who are sexually harassed are flooded with constant doses of cortisol especially in public places because they feel constantly threatened. This build-up of cortisol can protect them in the short run but have ill consequences on the body in the long run. Elevated cortisol levels in such women can lead to inflammation in the whole body, which lowers immunity and makes them vulnerable to cardiac diseases and cancer.
Sleep disturbances are quite common in people suffering from chronic anxiety and depression. Therefore, women who are sexually harassed find it hard to sleep at night as they play the unfortunate episodes again and again in their heads. Moreover, even when they fall asleep, disturbing images of these incidents visit them in the form of nightmares.
Therefore, it is high time we realize the gravity of the situation and strive to nurture a culture and society that is sensitive to women and where harassers are crucified for their actions.