The naivety of children makes them more vulnerable and more susceptible to being preyed on by a perpetrator. However, recognizing the common signs of sexual abuse will help parents to prevent it or more quickly help children who have been assaulted.
Pay Attention to the Indicators
Child and Adolescent Abuse
As a parent or guardian pay close attention to the behavior of your child. Any one sign will not determine that a child has been sexually abused, but if the child starts to display several signs of abuse, it is important to ask questions.
Signals to be aware of:
Child or Adolescent:
- Has nightmares or other sleep problems
- Seems troubled or distant
- Has a sudden change in eating habits
- Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity, or withdrawal
- Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places
- Thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty, or bad
- Exhibits adult-like behaviors, language, and knowledge
- Communicates less or is withdrawn
- Self-injury (cutting, burning)
- Poor personal hygiene
- Uses drugs and/or alcohol
- Tries to run away from home
- Depression, anxiety
- Suicide attempts
- Fear of closeness
- Compulsive eating or dieting
People who have been sexually abused sometimes carry that pain all the way into adulthood. Each victim of sexual abuse copes with it differently. The impact of sexual abuse may cause long lasting physical, emotional, and mental harm. Adult survivors report a number of different effects.
Responses from Adult Survivors:
- Wonder if it is possible to feel safe again
- Re-experience the assault through flashbacks
- Problems concentrating
- Guilty feelings
- Development of a negative self-image
- Disruptions in close relationships
- Loss of interest in sex
The attorneys at the Reinken Law Firm defend sexual abuse victims and survivors in the state of Connecticut. For more information on how we can help, call us at (203) 541-0090.