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Culture alone cannot explain the phenomena of such high rates of eating disorders. Eating disorders are complex, but what they all seem to have in common is the ability to distract women from the memories, sensations, and experience of the sexual abuse through starving, bingeing, purging, or exercising. They keep the focus on food, body image, weight, fat, calories, diets, miles, and other factors that women focus on during the course of an eating disorder. These disorders also have the ability to numb a woman from the overwhelming emotions resulting from the sexual abuse — especially loss of control, terror, and shame about her body. Women often have a combination of eating disorders in in their history. Some women are anorexic during one period of their life, bulimic during another, and compulsive eaters at yet another stage.

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