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How can parents know if their child is experiencing sexual abuse?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2024 | Sexual Abuse |

A parent’s role is to ensure the safety and well-being of their children. One of the most sensitive and concerning issues they may face is the possibility of their child experiencing sexual abuse.

Identifying signs of such abuse is the first step toward taking decisive action and protecting the child. By keeping some common indicators in mind, parents can better determine if their child is going through such a traumatic experience.

Behavioral changes

Children may exhibit noticeable changes in their behavior after experiencing sexual abuse. Look for sudden shifts in mood, such as becoming withdrawn, anxious or unusually aggressive. A once outgoing child might become reserved or reluctant to engage in activities they once enjoyed. Pay attention to any unexplained fears or phobias that seem to have developed out of nowhere.

Physical signs

Keep a watchful eye for physical signs that may indicate sexual abuse. Urinary tract infections, unexplained pain or discomfort and bruising around the genital or anal areas could be blatant red flags.

Sexualized behavior

Children who previously experienced sexual abuse may display sexualized behavior that is inappropriate for their age. This can include mimicking adult-like sexual acts or demonstrating knowledge of sexual language beyond their developmental stage.

Changes in relationships

Observe how your child interacts with others, especially those they were once close to. A child experiencing sexual abuse may become overly clingy or avoidant. Notice any discomfort or fear around specific individuals, including adults they previously trusted.

Statistics show that out of approximately 600,000 children who experience abuse each year, 10% experience sexual abuse in particular. The horrifying frequency of childhood sexual abuse is something that parents cannot ignore, but it is also something they can act to put a stop to for their own children.