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Sexual harassment victims often have survived other sexual abuse

A study has confirmed that childhood sexual abuse, adult sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and sexual harassment often occur in the same victims. (See Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology: A mediational model of posttraumatic stress disorder and physical health outcomes (April 2008)).

This study examined how sexual harassment, childhood sexual abuse, adult sexual assault, and intimate partner violence often recur in the same victim. The study identified four patterns from the lifetime experiences of 268 female veterans and violence co-occurrence.

It was demonstrated that each of the four forms of abuse co-occurred with the other forms in varying degrees. Victims of adult sexual assault were found to co-occur at high levels with all four forms. Workplace harassment victims highly co-occurred with women who have also been subjected to intimate partner violence.  Workplace harassment correlated highly with sexual re-victimization.

The study further addressed the role of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a mediator of physical health symptomatology. PTSD is a common disorder in these cases.  It was shown that PTSD fully mediated the relationship between violence and physical health symptomatology. PTSD levels were found to be a direct prediction of pain-related physical health symptoms compared to nonpain health problems. There is also discussion of clinical treatments as performed to prevent PTSD and to screen women for histories of violence in health care.

Workplace harassment causes devastating emotional, psychological, reputational and financial injuries.  In serious cases, in order to maintain hope for full emotional and financial recovery, it is critical to seek professional help from the best legal and medical experts.

Sexual Harassment

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