A leading researcher on the psychological causes and effects of shame, June Tangney, lists five ways shame can be destructive: Tangney notes the link of shame and anger.
"In day-to-day life, when people are shamed and angry they tend to be motivated to get back at a person and get revenge." In addition, shame is connected to psychological problems – such as eating disorders, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders as well as problematic moral behavior.
Sexual assault victims may also become the target of slut-shaming and cyberbullying.
During criminal proceedings, publication bans and rape shield laws operate to protect victims from excessive public scrutiny.
Survivors who experience characterological self-blame feel there is something inherently wrong with them which has caused them to deserve to be assaulted.They also feel embarrassed to talk about what had happened to them.After a sexual assault, victims are subjected to investigations and, in some cases, mistreatment.While the belief that one had control during the assault (past control) is associated with greater psychological distress, the belief that one has more control during the recovery process (present control) is associated with less distress, less withdrawal, and more cognitive reprocessing.Counseling responses found helpful in reducing self-blame are supportive responses, psychoeducational responses (learning about rape trauma syndrome) and those responses addressing the issue of blame.Types of secondary victimization include victim blaming and inappropriate post-assault behavior or language by medical personnel or other organizations with which the victim has contact.The term victim blaming refers to holding the victim of a crime to be responsible for that crime, either in whole or in part.Deaths associated with rape are known to occur, though the prevalence of fatalities varies considerably across the world.For rape victims the more common consequences of sexual violence are those related to reproductive health, mental health, and social wellbeing.Rapists are known to use victim blaming as their primary psychological disconnect from their crime(s) and in some cases it has led to their conviction.It has been proposed that one cause of victim blaming is the just world hypothesis.