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Eating disorders are prevalent among women who were sexually abused as children. They seem to have components of other symptoms such as obsessions, compulsions, avoidance of food, and anxiety, and they primarily include a distorted body image and feelings of body shame.For some women, eating disorders are related to the loss of control over their bodies during the sexual abuse and serve as a means of feeling in control of their bodies now. Eating disorders can also be indicative of the developmental stage and age at which the sexual abuse began. Women with anorexia and bulimia report that they were sexually abused either at the age of puberty or during puberty, when their bodies were beginning to develop and they felt a great deal of body shame from the abuse. By contrast, women with compulsive eating report that the sexual abuse occurred before the age of puberty; they used food for comfort.

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