chapter  6
10 Pages

Sexual Abuse, Eating Disorders, and Prevention: Political and Social Realities

WithLana Stermac, Niva Piran, Peter M. Sheridan

The prevalence of both sexual abuse and eating disorders has been linked to sociocultural factors that maintain and promote the manipulation and exploitation of the female body. Sexual abuse is seen to violate the physical, psychological, and spiritual space of a developing individual and, therefore, to disrupt psychological and interpersonal development in a major way. Permissive attitudes and the promotion of adult sexual activities with children can be found in several areas of society. Social and cultural messages about children’s bodies and their sexuality contribute not only to individual symptomatology but also to the phenomenon of sexual abuse itself. One way to assess the systemic nature of a worrisome social phenomena is to explore suggested means for its prevention. Comprehensive preventive measures must address and challenge the social structures and cultural messages that promote the manipulation of children’s and women’s bodies and maintain sexual exploitation.