Shepherd University

SU Interpersonal Violence
 Resource Center

Sexual Harassment

Impact of Sexual Harassment on the Victim

The psychological, emotional and physical effects of sexual harassment can vary from person to person depending on a variety of factors including severity and duration of harassment as well as other stressors that are present in the victim’s life.

Student victims may feel forced to accept the harassment, feel the need to drop a class, move from their residence hall, discontinue with a particular student organization or withdraw from the university completely. They may fear retaliation from the person who is harassing them or from others who become aware of the victim’s report of harassment.

The following are some of the health effects, both psychological and physiological, that can occur to someone who has been sexually harassed: (Courtesy of It is important to remember that if you experience any of these symptoms they are a normal reaction and that you can heal and recover with help and support.

  • Depression
  • Anxiety and/or panic attacks
  • Traumatic stress; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Sleeplessness and/or nightmares
  • Shame and guilt; self-blame
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue or loss of motivation
  • Difficulties with time (forgetting appointments, trouble gaging time)
  • Stomach problems; gastrointestinal disorders
  • Eating disorders (weight loss or gain)
  • Feeling betrayed and/or violated
  • Feeling angry or violent towards the perpetrator
  • Feeling powerless, helpless, or out of control
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Loss of confidence and self esteem
  • Overall loss of trust in people; problems with intimacy
  • Problems with sex (sexual dysfunction)
  • Withdrawal and isolation
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts; suicide