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The 7 sequels of victims of gender violence

The 7 sequels of victims of gender violence

January 25, 2022

Much has been discussed about gender violence in recent days on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women , celebrated on November 25. Through this article we want to transmit in a simple way some of the psychological sequels suffered by victims of gender violence, without daring to affirm that there is a psychological profile of a woman who suffers abuse, but taking into account that there are a series of sequelae or psychological consequences that are repeated in many of the women who have suffered this violence.

Women victims of gender-based violence suffer specific damages from the situation of abuse, which usually appear on all victims, but we must highlight the heterogeneity of the people and emphasize that each situation involves different nuances and, therefore, The sequels that we will explain below will not be presented to all victims with the same intensity or in the same way.


The 4 types of sequels in victims of gender violence

We will classify the consequences suffered by victims of gender violence in four blocks:

  • Emotional and affective sequelae : are those related to the victim's self-esteem, emotions and feelings.
  • Cognitive sequels : they tend to highlight problems of concentration, memory loss, the difficulty of thinking about the future and planning or imagining the future, confusion, and so on.
  • Behavioral sequelae : reduction of social interaction behaviors (giving and receiving), difficulties in communicating, problems when negotiating, and so on.
  • Physical sequels : bruises and injuries, physical exhaustion, generalized pain in the body, etc.

However, in this article we will devote ourselves to explaining the emotional and affective consequences suffered by women victims of sexist violence, since they are often the most difficult to detect and those that represent one of the multiple targets of fundamental intervention in the face to psychological treatment.


Emotional and affective sequelae in victims of gender violence

Although there may be multiple symptoms at a psychological-affective level, we will focus on the 7 most frequent emotional sequels.

1. Low self-esteem, identity problems and distorted self-image

the vision they have of themselves is totally distorted towards the negative. They often doubt their own capabilities and possibilities, they refer that they are a totally different person than they were at the beginning of the toxic relationship. In general, they are perceived without resources, helpless and without the necessary skills to take responsibility for their lives. They minimize their abilities and abilities, and maximize the chances of being wrong and "failing".

They have a hard time trusting their intuition (think that for a time they have been made to doubt themselves permanently , thinking that they are not right or that what they think or say is absurd and that they are wrong), so they can come to depend a lot on external opinions.


2. Feelings of guilt and fear

These feelings arise as a result of the messages of constant blame they have received from the aggressor . They feel guilty about everything, although apparently it has nothing to do with them. They think that they are not good as a person (if they have children, they may come to think that they are a bad mother). The guilt they feel usually paralyzes them and does not allow them to look forward and move forward. As a result of the aggressor's threats, they develop constant tension, hypervigilance and fear.

3. Emotional isolation

As a result of the social isolation caused by the aggressor, the victim feels that she is totally alone and that no one can understand what is happening to her . They believe that they can not trust anyone and that, therefore, nobody can help them. At the same time, they depend more and more on the aggressor. They may also come to believe that what they are experiencing only happens to them and that no one would understand them.

4. Difficulty recognizing and expressing emotions

Due to the situation of absolute control by the aggressor, there is a denial of feelings and emotions of the victim . They think that their feelings do not matter, that they are exaggerating or that they are wrong (they distrust their own feelings). In this way, they usually choose to hide their emotions.

They can often show badly channeled rage: think that the victim has to be able to control all their emotions so as not to "irritate" the aggressor. This creates a perfect breeding ground for the woman later to express her feelings in a more uncontrolled way. Sometimes the contained anger is directed against themselves.

5.Post-traumatic stress disorder or related symptons

These women are living or have experienced very difficult and stressful situations, recurrent traumas in many cases, so that typical symptoms of PTSD can arise (anxiety, nightmares, depression, hypervigilance, emotional dullness, irritability, ideas of suicide, insomnia, exaggerated emotional responses ...).

6. Feelings of having betrayed the aggressor

For having denounced, for separating or for having explained it to another person . They feel they betray their partner. This would be one of the elements that would lead many women victims of gender violence to withdraw their complaints. They feel guilty for talking badly about him, even if they are ultimately explaining what happened. In addition, women who have been victims of gender violence for a long time can come to integrate ideas and messages that have been received by the aggressor. They end up becoming what the aggressor wants her to be.

7. Attachment disorders

It is usual the difficulty to trust others, they feel that they are not worthy of being loved or respected , they keep distance with the environment for fear of suffering again, they perceive the environment as a threat ...


Above all, the affective ambivalence arises: you can not give yourself "the luxury" of giving yourself in a totally genuine and open way to the people who show affection, since in the past they did it and the consequences were dire. In some way they try to protect themselves from future situations of violence. This situation of ambivalence also occurs with the aggressor, since in one of the parts of the cycle of violence the aggressor asks for forgiveness (honeymoon: they care for him and perceive him as someone who is worthy of being loved) and in the following phases the phases of accumulation of tension and explosion return (they feel hatred toward him).

Bibliographic references:

  • Lorente Acosta, Miguel. (2009). My husband hits me the normal: aggression against women. Realities and myths. Planet: Barcelona.


  • EcheburĂșa, E., and De Corral, P. (1998). Manual of family violence. 21st Century of Spain: Madrid.

  • Official College of Psychology of Gipuzkoa (2016). Manual of Psychological Attention to victims of macho mistreatment.


'What I See' - A Domestic Violence Short Film (January 2022).


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