Of all the crimes practiced by the worst of society, none pale compared to those committed against children. And when you add the sexual abuse of a child to that list, it seems almost unimaginable. But the fact is that this type of behavior is not uncommon.
Many children, both boys and girls have experienced child sexual abuse. When this happens, some subtle and many not-so-subtle signs may arise. From the way abused children talk to how they interact with others, many things can be uncovered from how they behave.
The Different Types of Signs
When it comes to the different kinds of signs you can expect to see from a sexually abused child, they come in 3 main categories:
You may notice many signs from one particular category, but in most cases, children will exhibit indicators from a combination of all three. So instead of just seeing physical signs like bruising, it may be accompanied by emotional issues like unexplained fear or behavioral symptoms like disobedience at school.
Here is more about the types of abuse with 6 of the most common warning signs accompanying them:
Physical Signs of Abuse
Since physical signs of abuse aren’t always present, they can’t be relied solely upon for evidence of this type of activity. Additionally, emotional and behavioral issues are more common as many perpetrators go to great lengths to conceal their misdeeds physically.
Two examples of physical child sexual abuse signs are:
1. Unexplained symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches
2. Bathroom accidents unrelated to or past the stage of potty training
Emotional Signs of Abuse
As mentioned, emotional and behavioral signs are more common. However, since they are similar, they are often confused. Here are examples of spirited child sexual abuse:
3. Night terrors, fear of being alone at night or other difficulty sleeping
4. Decreased self-confidence, fearfulness, depression, worry/anxiety, aggression
Behavioral Signs of Abuse
Behavioral issues may be the most reliable signs of child sexual abuse. This is because it usually takes some type of trauma to provoke significant changes to a child’s behavior, whereas moods and attitudes can fluctuate significantly at younger ages. Common examples of this include:
5. Sexualized language, knowledge, or behavior that is not age-appropriate (such as misbehaving with toys or sexual “play-acting” with another child)
6. Not wanting to take part in routine activities or attend school. Avoiding certain places or people, especially ones they used to get excited about
Child Sexual Abuse Is a Growing Problem
Not only are the numbers of cases of abuse of a sexual nature against children growing, but the nature of the abuse itself is also becoming more disturbing. If one of your children or other young loved ones has experienced this type of trauma, you should immediately consider contacting a legal specialist.
This may be the only way to ensure that the perpetrator is punished and allow the victim a sense of closure and the ability to deal with their issues through counseling and other means.