Nonlethal self-cutting and eating disorders are common reactions to repetitive sexual abuse and trauma. More females than males cut on themselves. Males get into more vehicle accidents than females do. Self-abuse is used to FEEL again and experience control over their body. The dysfunctional eater or cutter controls WHEN and HOW they get hurt or eat. Cutters feel calmer and relaxed after the distraction of cutting the self because THEY are in control of the abuse. In childhood they felt calmer after being abused because that abuse was over at least temporarily.
Cutting and dysfunctional eating also acts to transform EMOTIONAL pain into something visible when you have no words to express your suffering. Self-cutting is physical pain that can be seen, accepted and treated easier by the larger community in denial about the abuses so many children suffer.