The warning signs of child sexual abuse can be difficult to recognize, which is why you must know what to look for. And always remember that abuse is never the fault of a child. Most offenders aren’t strangers lurking beneath every bush; more often than not, they are close acquaintances, family members, and trusted authority figures. Trust your instincts and speak up if you suspect something might be amiss. If the offender is a family member or someone you know well, this person is already off-balance. You could make all the difference in protecting a child from danger. Here are some of the most common signs that your child is sexually abused!
Trouble sleeping, nightmares, or other sleep disturbances can be a sign of sexual abuse in children, as well as bed-wetting or soiling that suddenly begins after a long period of being dry. Children may also regress in potty training. They may have trouble walking or sitting, or their bowel and bladder control may suddenly worsen. They may begin to act out sexually, either with other children or by touching themselves inappropriately.
Lack of communication with parents or guardians
Is your child suddenly quiet, withdrawn, or moody? Has your child’s behavior changed significantly? Is your child sexually active with peers or engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior? If so, these behaviors may be warning signs of child sexual abuse. By nature, children are communicative beings, and if they stop talking, this could be a sign that something serious is going on. A child who is being abused may also exhibit physical symptoms. It’s not unusual for them to complain about having headaches or stomach aches, for example.
Withdrawal from family and friends
This could include refusing invitations to hang out with friends or family members. If a child starts avoiding activities that he previously enjoyed, this could be a sign of depression stemming from bullying at school.
Decreased appetite, nightmares, and sleep problems
Abuse could cause your child to start acting out in other ways, becoming more aggressive or withdrawn. These warning signs don’t necessarily mean your child has been sexually abused, but they could indicate something wrong. And it’s always better to err on the side of caution if you think your child is at risk.
Ways to protect your child
Trust your instinct if something doesn’t seem right with your child’s behavior.
Know who cares for your children, such as babysitters, teachers, coaches, relatives, and neighbors. Make sure they have been properly screened for criminal history.
Make sure your child knows that they can talk openly with you about any problems or concerns in their life, including sex abuse. Tell your child that no one has the right to touch them in private places, including their genitals, buttocks, and breasts, without permission.
Talk to your child about the difference between good touches and bad touches. All children need this kind of information at an early age to protect themselves from abuse.
Contact the nearest sexual assault attorney to ensure justice is served and the predator does not remain part of the society.
Now that you know what to look for protect your children and make your community safer from child sexual abuse!