Understanding the Red Flags of Child Sexual Abuse
Spotting child sexual abuse may not be so easy. Often the abuser goes to great lengths to hide their heinous actions. Since victims of child sexual abuse often know the perpetrator, it can be hard to imagine that someone you are close to would harm a loved one. Sadly, according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), 93% of sexual abuse victims under 18 know their abuser. Knowing these warning signs can help to protect a child that could be in danger.
The Physical Warning Signs
Some of the most common physical signs of child sexual abuse are:
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) - An article published by the Journal of Pediatric Health Care in 2017 reports that less than 5% of sexually abused children will have an STI. However, the presence of an STI is a strong indicator of sexual abuse.
- Trauma to the Genital Area - Unexplained bleeding or bruising to the genital area can be a sign of sexual abuse. Blood on sheets, underwear, or clothing may also be an indicator.
Behavioral and Emotional Signs
If you notice the following behavioral and emotional changes, it could point to child sexual abuse:
- Knowledge or talking excessively about sexual topics
- Inappropriate sexual behavior
- Afraid of being left alone with certain people (such as a primary caregiver)
- Displaying behaviors that were outgrown, such as bedwetting and thumbsucking
- Avoiding bath time or removing clothing
- Changes in eating habits
- Changes in mood or personality (increased aggression or withdrawn)
- Increased complaints of stomach aches and headaches
- Loss of interest in school and extracurricular activities
- Not spending time with friends as usual
- Self-harming behaviors (cutting, biting, burning, pulling out hair, scratching, or picking at the skin)
Child sexual abuse often goes undetected. If you suspect a child is subjected to sexual abuse, contact the authorities. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can report the incident to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
How Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse Can Seek Justice
Surviving the physical and emotional impact of childhood sexual abuse is a traumatic experience that cannot be easily forgotten. When the damage is irreversible, and the long-term effects are a constant battle for survivors, it can include a lifetime of therapy and other treatments to get past the pain.
Many survivors of child sexual abuse feel alone and confused. When unsure where to go for help, the situation can turn much more unbearable. Know that you are not alone. If you or a loved one has suffered child sexual abuse, The Zalkin Law Firm, P.C. is here to give you the support and help you deserve to hold your perpetrators and/or the institutions accountable for allowing the sexual abuse to happen.
Contact us today (800) 477-2989 to learn your rights.