Knowing the signs of sexual abuse is vital if you suspect a child has been exploited. Sexual abuse does not discriminate. The abuser can be the child’s sibling, father, neighbor, teacher or a complete stranger. Children are never prepared for the constant sexual stimulus of abuse. Victims can eventually become predators or prostitutes because of their warped outlook of sex and relationships.
There are usually no physical signs of sexual abuse. Many times, only a physician can determine if a child has been sexually abused. If abuse is suspected, it is important to study the emotional state of the child.
A normal self adjusted child who suddenly isolates herself from social situations is a sign of possible abuse. Children who previously showed trust toward adults, and then suddenly fears them could be a symptom of sexual abuse.
Any child who abruptly becomes depressed may be a molestation victim. This does not guarantee the child is a victim of sex abuse. However, a once cheerful child that becomes depressed almost overnight is in trouble and might be a victim. If the child talks about suicide, an immediate intervention by an adult is clearly indicated. Certainly, everyone has a down day, but real depression needs a closer look.
Children who draw pictures depicting sexual abuse are possible victims. Normal children, especially when they are very young, do not draw sexual pictures. Any games or behavior that mimics sexual activity should trigger an alarm in adults. If you know a child displaying these mannerisms, or drawing inappropriate pictures, understand that he is in need of help.
If a child loves school then suddenly does not want to go, he might be a victim. This is especially true if this behavior becomes a chronic problem. In addition, if a child who never misses school unexpectedly starts becoming a truant, then sexual abuse needs to at least be considered. At the very least, an adult intervention is needed to get to the root of the problem. If sexual abuse is the cause, immediate counseling will be required.
Unusual chronic aggressiveness displayed by a child who is usually meek is a cause for concern. Any child who is normally considered tame, and then starts getting into fights and other disruptive episodes may be a victim. This behavior is quite common of children who are victims of molestation.
When a child is suspected of being sexually abused, adult involvement is immediately required. A child who suffers molestation over a long period of time is likely to have many serious problems when they become adults. Victims, along with their families, must seek immediate counseling by a child psychiatrist who is an expert in treating sex abuse.