Crime

Warning Signs of Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused

Studies show that in as many as nine out of 10 cases, children don’t tell anyone when they are being sexually abused.

It’s up to adults to recognize behaviors that make children vulnerable to sexual abuse. If something doesn’t seem right or makes you uncomfortable, speak up. Your voice is the first line of defense in keeping children safe. Continue to discuss the issue with family members and other adults about safeguarding children.

Any one sign doesn’t mean that a child has been sexually abused, but the presence of several suggests that you begin asking questions and consider seeking help. Keep in mind that some of these signs can emerge at other times of stress such as:

-During a divorce

-Death of a family member or pet

-Problems at school or with friends

-Other anxiety-inducing or traumatic events

Behavior you may see in a child or adolescent

-Has nightmares or other sleep problems without an explanation

-Seems distracted or distant at odd times

-Has a sudden change in eating habits

-Refuses to eat

-Loses or drastically increases appetite

 -Has trouble swallowing.

-Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity or withdrawal

-Leaves “clues” that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues

-Writes, draws, plays or dreams of sexual or frightening images

-Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places

-Refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child

-Talks about a new older friend

-Suddenly has money, toys or other gifts without reason

-Thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty or bad

-Exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language and knowledge

Signs more typical of younger children

-An older child behaving like a younger child (such as bed-wetting or thumb sucking)

-Has new words for private body parts

-Resists removing clothes when appropriate times (bath, bed, toileting, diapering)

-Asks other children to behave sexually or play sexual games

-Mimics adult-like sexual behaviors with toys or stuffed animal

-Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training

Signs more typical in adolescents

-Self-injury (cutting, burning)

-Inadequate personal hygiene

-Drug and alcohol abuse

-Sexual promiscuity

-Running away from home

-Depression, anxiety

-Suicide attempts

‘Fear of intimacy or closeness

-Compulsive eating or dieting

Physical warning signs

-Physical signs of sexual abuse are rare.  If you see these signs, bring your child to a doctor.   Your doctor can help you understand what may be happening and test for sexually transmitted diseases.

-Pain, discoloration, bleeding or discharges in genitals, anus or mouth

-Persistent or recurring pain during urination and bowel movements

-Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training

3 replies »

  1. I can hardly believe 1 in 3 adults won’t believe a child when they report being sexually abused, especially when it’s their own child. No wonder so many kids grow up with poor self-esteem, insecurities, personality disorders, and mental health problems that affect them their entire lives. Pedophilia runs rampant through all aspects of society – government, Hollywood, schools, churches and our own homes. It’s time for adult pedophiles to be exposed and held accountable for their selfish, evil actions – no matter who they are. Our children deserve to be believed.

    Liked by 2 people

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