Forty-five per cent of woman abuse results in physical injury. The psychological effects of this can be far-reaching: eighty-five per cent of abused women indicate that they have experienced some type of negative emotional effects including anger, fear, becoming less trusting, suffering from lowered self-esteem, depression, anxiety, shame and guilt. In order to combat these effects, twenty-five per cent of these women report having used alcohol, drugs or medication.
Physical Health Effects Include:
-broken bones -burns -stab wounds -concussions -perforated ear drums -loss of hair -chronic stomach/bowel pain or discomfort -chronic joint or muscle pain -palpitations -firearm wounds -bruises -cuts/abrasions -bites -sprains -chipped or lost teeth -internal injuries -chronic headache -high blood pressure -detached retina -substance abuse issues
Sexual Health Effects Include:
-sexually transmitted diseases -chronic genital or pelvic pain -bruising or tearing of the vagina or anus -frequent pregnancies -fear of sexual intimacy -miscarriages -chronic vaginal or urinary track infections -female genital mutilation -painful intercourse -infertility
Psychological Health Effects Include:
-low self esteem -difficulty in forming/maintaining relationships -anxiety -lack of appropriate boundaries -self degradation -chronic stress -uncontrolled or rapid anger response -memory loss -loss of concentration or productivity -self-abusive behaviour -problems with parenting children -frequent crying -passivity -unusual fear response -increased watchfulness -sleep disturbances -phobias
(This information on health effects is from the Final Report of the Task Force on the Health Effects of Woman Abuse, 2000.)
Adapted with permission from the Centre for Research and Education on violence against Women and Children from materials produced by the Ontario Women’s Directorate and CREVAWC for their Neighbours, Friends and Families Campaign.