Victims of child sexual abuse wear the warning signs like flashing lights. Unfortunately most people don’t know what to watch for. A mother might think that her teenage daughter, who has been moody, cries a lot and doesn’t like to be touched anymore, is just going through the terrible teens. A sister may be annoyed at her sibling for exhibiting extremes in behavior, one day demanding, one day exceedingly passive. A grandmother may wonder what is wrong with her granddaughter who all of a sudden has begun wearing low cut and tight fitting clothes, almost as if she’s advertising her sexuality. These are all warning signs of child sexual abuse.
All children go through changes in their behavior and the terrible teens does exist. A parent should take a closer look if their child exhibits behavior changes that become pronounced and are illustrative of child sexual abuse, in particular if it is linked with more than one behavior change.
The signs that indicate child sexual abuse as the origin of your child’s problems are like the warning signs of cancer. They illustrate deeper problems. These problems can be mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. Sexual abuse, which creates a more deadly path, is all four. A child or teenager who has been sexually abused has had their inner self torn apart. The happy, stable, loving child that they either were or were in the process of becoming is destroyed and all of the qualities that were the best and brightest disappear. They may not be able to put a name to their torment; they may not even be able to put a face to it. But, make no mistake; the abuse has made drastic changes in their behavior that, at the very least needs to be checked out. If you ask your child if anyone has hurt them physically they will probably answer no. If you explain sexual abuse to them and ask if anyone has done that to them their shame is so great that they will no doubt answer no to that as well.
If you had a lump in your breast or any other part of your body, a nagging cough, a mole or wart that has drastically changed, a sore that doesn’t heal, changes in bowel or bladder habits, a nagging cough or difficulty in swallowing you would go to the doctor to check out the changes and make sure you don’t have cancer. The following is a list of some of the warning signs of child sexual abuse.
• If your child became excessively withdrawn, fearful or anxious,
• begins acting inappropriately, especially displaying an interest in sexual acts,
• shows extremes in behavior, • shies away from being touched,
• is hyper-vigilant,
• wears inappropriate clothing such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days,
• shows an aversion to a family member that previously hadn’t existed, or
• runs away from home
Like the warning signs of cancer these need to be checked out. If your child exhibits any of these warning signs, find a therapist who specializes in child sexual abuse and start your child on the right road to recovery. Children of an untreated child sexual abuse victim stand a five times greater chance of being sexually abused themselves. Don’t wait until they grow up and have children of their own. See my previous blog posting for an exact description of child sexual abuse.