Sexual assault and harassment linked to long-term health problems for women, study says

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(Sandee LaMotte/ CNN) — High blood pressure. Anxiety. Depression. Insomnia. These are just a few of the possible long-term health consequences facing mid-life women who had experienced sexual assault and harassment, according to a study published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

With the world’s focus on accusations of sexual misconduct, it’s a sobering reminder of the health toll that any form of sexual abuse can take.

“In a sense, the body is telling the story,” said Nancy Krieger, a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health professor who was not involved in the new study. “Not everyone is able and willing to identify what happened to them, but that doesn’t prevent the body from having opinions about it and expressing them.”

The study included 304 nonsmoking women between the ages of 40 and 60. Nineteen percent of the women reported experiencing sexual harassment, 22% reported experiencing sexual assault, and 10% reported both. (…)

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