Sexual abuse is an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). ACEs stunt the growth and pruning of the brain 'trees' or neural architecture. This can lead to poor school performance, depression, suicide, inability to form and develop nurturing relationships, chronic diseases, obesity and addiction.
In addition, people react from their past history to circumstances in the present. A person who was sexually abused as a child will exhibit responses to sexual stimuli in the present tainted with that abuse experience. For example, a woman who is uncooperative during a pelvic exam at the doctor's office may be reacting to abuse in her past.