Depression PTSD

Be careful, this is the psychological and physical impact of sexual harassment

– Recently harassment of a woman allegedly by a coffee shop employee went viral on social media. In the video, which is spread on Twitter and Instagram, shows two coffee shop employees peeking at the breasts of female customers through CCTV.

After going viral on social media, netizens blasphemed it all out. Because this behavior is considered a form of sexual harassment. This is also shared by the Deputy Chairperson of Komnas Perempuan, Mariana Amiruddin.

“Sexual harassment includes sexual violence. Because it shows a woman’s body verbally humiliates the person,” he said.

The question is, what is the impact of sexual harassment on the physical and psychological impact of the victim?

Forms of Sexual Harassment You Need to Know

Psychic Disaster for the Victims

The psychological impact of sexual harassment on victims is no joke. Not a few of them may experience mental trauma after the heartbreaking tragedy. Well, here are some of the psychological impacts that generally occur:

  • Easy to get angry.

  • Feeling always insecure.

  • Experiencing sleep disorders.

  • Nightmare

  • Fright.

  • Great shame.

  • Shock.

  • Frustration.

  • Blaming or isolating yourself.

  • Stress.

  • Depression.

In short, the combination of the above psychological problems can adversely affect the psychological well-being of the victim. In addition, it is not uncommon for victims to experience a decline in academic or work performance after experiencing sexual harassment.

The psychological impact of sexual harassment does not stop there. In some cases, sexual harassment can also lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), especially if the harassment leads to assailants, rape, intimidation or threats of rape, to sexual torture.

“Among women who experience sexual assault, 90 percent who experience sexual violence show symptoms of acute stress,” explains Dr. Helen Wilson, a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise on the effects of trauma, from Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Well, this trauma effect can increase the risk of PTSD.

The most worrying thing, according to experts at the National Institutes of Health – National Institute of Mental Health, is that PTSD that is not treated properly can lead to suicidal thoughts.

Is it really not playing games the impact of sexual harassment on the psyche?

Depression Levels Rise in Indonesia, Recognize the Symptoms

From Mental Pressure, Continue To Physical

There may be thoughts such as: “Yes, I can see how sexual violence can cause such disorder (PTSD), but how can harassment be so dangerous? Sounds a little dramatic! ”.

This thinking is very problematic, not only because it rejects medical science and undermines the stories of survivors, but also because it doubts the many adverse effects that victims must face.

Things that need to be underlined, this psychological impact can trigger a series of complications, especially around physical health. So, the notion that sexual harassment only causes inner wounds is clearly wrong.

“Sometimes sexual harassment is recorded as traumatic, and it’s difficult for the patient to deal with, so what really happens is the body starts to get overwhelmed,” explains Dr. Nekeshia Hammond, Former President of the Florida Psychological Association.

Experts refer to this condition as somatizing. This condition occurs when there is mental stress that is so extraordinary that a person cannot process it. Well, this pressure can turn into a physical complaint over time.

Mental stress that triggers severe stress can cause a variety of physical symptoms. Starting from muscle pain, headaches, even chronic physical health problems, such as high blood pressure and problems with blood sugar. “In the long run, it can cause heart problems,” explains Hammond.

What are the reasons for the above conditions? Remember, the human brain and body are linked.

“The part of our brain that processes emotions, including stress, is right next to the brain stem, which is associated with reflex or automatic functions such as heart rate and breathing,” said Wilson.

Now, if the stress goes to that part of the brain, then in the end it can have an impact on a person’s physical condition. For example, problems with cardiovascular function, metabolism, and so on. So, don’t be surprised if someone who is experiencing severe stress or depression will also experience a number of physical problems.

Not New

There is nothing wrong with flashbacks to the phenomenon of sexual harassment in Indonesia. Komnas Perempuan noted that for 12 years (2001–2012), at least 35 women were victims of sexual violence every day. In 2012, at least 4,336 cases of sexual violence were recorded. What is the current condition?

Unfortunately, Komnas Perempuan’s 2020 data shows a surge. In 2019, there were 4,898 cases of sexual violence. So, sexual harassment like that of the coffee shop employees above is a form of sexual violence.

Komnas Perempuan said that sexual harassment is a sexual act through physical and non-physical touch with the target of the victim’s sexual organs or sexuality. This includes using whistles, flirting, sexual overtones, presenting pornographic material and sexual desires, poking, or touching body parts.

In addition, this includes gestures or gestures of a sexual nature that cause discomfort, offense, feel humiliated, and possibly cause health and safety problems.

Want to know more about the problems above? Or have other health complaints? You can ask a psychologist or doctor directly through the application. Through Chat and Voice / Video Call features, you can chat with expert doctors anytime and anywhere without needing to leave the house. Come on, download it now on the App Store and Google Play!

NBC News. Accessed 2020. The Hidden Health Effects Of Sexual Harassment.
National Institutes of Health – National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved 2020. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Northern Michigan University Edu. Effects of Sexual Harassment.
Stanford University. Accessed 2020. Effects of Sexual Harassment.
Komnas Perempuan. Accessed 2020. 15 Forms of Sexual Violence.
Komnas Perempuan. Accessed in 2020. Statement of Attitudes Regarding Postponement of the Indonesian Parliament at Deliberation on the Bill on the Elimination of Sexual Violence in the 2020 Prolegnas (1 July 2020) – Starbucks explanation about the viral video of its employees suspected of abusing women from CCTV footage.