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How can harmful sexual behaviour affect people?

How can harmful sexual behaviour affect people?

Harmful sexual behaviour can have really serious effects. It can be very upsetting and damaging and the effects can last a long time.

This is true both for: 

  • people who’ve been harmed 
  • people who’ve harmed someone else 

Some people go on to have flashbacks (when they feel like they’re back in the situation that harmed them) or upsetting memories.

They may feel:

  • confused
  • embarrassed
  • ashamed
  • guilty

about what happened, or about their sexual thoughts and feelings.

They may feel anxious or scared about the future. Or they may feel down or depressed.

They may also find it hard to trust people, or talk about what’s happened.

If you’ve been through something sexual that harmed you, it’s really important you get support. One way to begin is to talk to an adult you trust. It’s important to remember that if someone has sexually harmed you, this is never your fault.

If you think you might have harmed yourself through your sexual actions, it’s also important that you get support. And if you’ve harmed someone else, they need to get support too.

If you’ve harmed someone else, you may be worried about how your family and friends will react if they hear about it.

If you feel this way, you’ll probably find it helpful to read our page on dealing with regrets about harmful sexual behaviour.

Dealing with regrets about harmful sexual behaviour

If you’ve been involved in harmful sexual behaviour, you may be struggling with difficult emotions. Find out ways you can deal with regrets about any harmful sexual behaviour you’ve been involved in.

Read more

Are you struggling?

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