Tragically, child sexual abuse is more frequent than you may realize. According to RAINN, an expert in child sexual abuse statistics, an abuse claim is filed every nine minutes in the USA.
The child sexual abuse definition is broad and can include any harm of a sexual nature towards a child. This may consist of inappropriate sexual acts, possessing or creating child pornography, or performing adult acts in front of a child.
The Must-Know Signs of Child Sexual Abuse
It is something many of us are not comfortable talking about, but are you aware of some of the most common signs of abuse in a child?
If not, read on to learn what to look out for. You may be able to save a child in a terrible situation.
Sudden Mood Changes
Mood changes are common symptoms of child sexual abuse. If you notice an otherwise healthy and balanced child starting to struggle from insecurity, fear, anger, or even aggressiveness towards adults or other children, this is often a red flag that something is wrong.
Insomnia and changes in sleeping behaviors, such as bed-wetting, also occur frequently when children are being abused.
In addition to mood and emotional changes, changes to eating habits are also frequent. Often, a child who is being abused lacks appetite or shows much less interest in food than they usually do.
Always trust your instinct— if you suspect a child has started to behave very differently suddenly, you should investigate.
Withdrawing From School
When a child, or adult, is being abused, it can be near impossible to focus on anything else.
Changes in attitude towards school, sports, and extracurricular activities can be one of the effects of child abuse. Perhaps the child’s grades have fallen, they lack confidence, they no longer want to go to school each morning, or they are acting up in class?
If so, these can be signs of a severe problem.
Do you need legal help with a child sexual abuse case? If so, visit this page.
Avoiding the Abuser
Have you noticed a child is no longer comfortable around a particular adult? They may seem scared to be alone with them, angry at the thought of spending time with them, or they make comments about being frightened around them.
Or, if you notice an adult showing too much interest in a child, giving them gifts inappropriately, or looking for reasons to be alone with the child, this can be a severe issue.
Child sexual abuse symptoms can also present as physical symptoms.
Although not all abuse leaves physical marks, common signs include stomach aches, headaches, painful bowel movements, or pain, and discoloration around the mouth or private parts.
How Can You Help Child Sexual Abuse End?
If you suspect child sexual abuse, always take action right away. Call the police, speak to a child’s counselor or teacher, or put in an anonymous report to child services.
Although it can be scary, if you act quickly, you may be able to help a vulnerable and scared child who is caught in an awful situation and isn’t comfortable speaking up.
Now that you’re aware of some of the symptoms of abuse, always speak up and say something if you suspect a problem. Together, we can help end this horrible issue.