Possible Symptoms of Sexual Molestation In A Child
When a child is being molested, they will often not say anything. There are symptoms that you need to watch for.
However, and this is vitally important, if they do say something that seems odd, do not brush it aside nor ignore it. Listen to your child!
If you see changes in their behavior then you need to investigate and find out why the change has taken place. Is it due to molestation, or is it due to other forces.
As a parent, you know you child better than anyone. You will see the difference from their normal behavior. Be observant and do not write everything off as just a phase.
The following symptoms may be an indication as to whether your child is being sexually abused or not. Do not jump to conclusions if you see one or two of these symptoms as they can be caused by other forces. Observe and take note of which symptoms, if any, they are exhibiting.
Symptoms of Possible Child Sexual Abuse
- If the child is young, s/he may start bedwetting again.
- A child under stress may start bedwetting for other reasons, so do not jump to conclusions. Bullying for example is a more likely cause, especially if they have tried to tell someone but have been told to "stand up for themselves". Pressure from school and teachers can also cause this.
- A child could have soiling accidents which may include making a mess of the toilet seat.
- You need to look into this as it is one of the symptoms of sexual abuse in children, but not all will have this problem.
Aversion to Someone
- A child may suddenly become fearful of or dislike being around someone they previously had no problems with, child or adult. It may also be a family member.
- It doesn’t mean abuse, they may have upset the child in other ways, but this is a red flag.
Dislike of Places
- A Child may dislike going to a place where previously they enjoyed. This will possibly be the place where abuse has occurred.
- You need to determine whether it is fear or boredom which has prompted this.
- A child may start having problems in school, or their grades start dropping.
- Once again, this on its own does not indicate sexual abuse. There are many reasons this could be happening. Many children do tend to do this, so if this is the only symptom, it is most likely caused by other reasons.
- A child may exhibit sexy behavior, start flirting with others including adults, have an interest in sex, or knowledge of sex beyond their years.
- You need to pay attention. However this may begin as a result of what they see on TV or influence from older kids around them, or what they talk about in school, check it out. This is an important one. This can be a symptom of sexual abuse.
A child may withdraw from those around him or her.
- Something is wrong and you need to find out what has precipitated this behavior.
Change in Eating Habits
- A change in a child’s eating habits.
- We are not talking about the normal increase or decrease of eating for growing spurts.
Change In Behavior
A child’s behavior may change. Have they suddenly become aggressive, angry, petulant, moody, etc
- This can also be a child’s attitude when hitting puberty and growing into a teenager, or having picked up the attitude of friends (you have heard of the chip on the shoulder) so don’t assume the worst.
Despondent or Suicidal
A child may become depressed, despondent or develop suicidal tendencies.
- The child has a problem. It doesn’t mean its sexual abuse. Many children can’t cope with the stresses of school, bullying, peer pressure, family problems, etc. You should however get help immediately.
If your child is exhibiting some of these symptoms and you suspect child sexual abuse then you will want to investigate.
Remember too, that contrary to what the news headlines lead you to believe, children are most likely to be sexually abused by a family member or close friend. Do not under any circumstances discard this possibility just because you cannot handle the idea. If you are the parent, it is your job to protect them, not yourself first.
Many parents (esp. mothers) have ignored direct statements of abuse from the child accusing a family member, because they do not want their own security or life to be disrupted.
If you suspect sexual abuse, you need to read this article.