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Over the past year, an increasing number of women and men who have been subjected to sexual abuse have been empowered to come forward and share their experiences on social media and with others. In hearing these stories, many who were either harassed or assaulted have had to relive their very own traumatic situations, some of which they’d kept secret for decades.

What’s become clear from hearing their stories is that the treatment that they’ve endured has had a long-lasting impact on their lives.

A Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine study published on Oct. 3 shows that individuals who are subjected to sexual trauma end up dealing with long-term physical problems and psychological issues. Most end up getting diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

The University of Pittsburgh researchers also pointed out that as many as 85 percent of all women experience sexual harassment at some point during their lifetimes. They found that these experiences can leave women more vulnerable to having health problems including insomnia, anxiety and depression.

They also found that women who’d been sexually harassed also tended to have high triglycerides and blood pressure, factors that made them more vulnerable to stroke or heart disease.

Their ability to function at school and work is affected as well.

Researchers working on this study also found that women who fell victim to acts of sexual violence were more likely to engage in negative health behaviors such as drinking and smoking. Their stress levels tended to be higher than others as well, something that could make it difficult for an individual to regulate their bodily functions.

Although all of the participants in the study were ages 40 through 60, most respondents reported having been sexually abused or harassed when they were in their teens or early 20s. The lead researcher points out that the fact that many of these women reported still experiencing physical and mental problems stemming from their abuse goes to show that its impact can last for decades.

Victims of sexual abuse, discrimination or harassment often experience declines in their self-esteem and confidence that can impact their work performance. A New York sexual harassment attorney who has successfully gone after the instigators of this type of abuse is who you’ll want to represent you in your own case.