The Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children & Teens
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 1 in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys under the age of 18 have been subjected to sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult. With such shockingly high statistics, it is important to learn the warning signs of abuse in order to protect children and teens who need help.
In light of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, here are some tips to help you identify the potential warning signs of sexual abuse in children and teens.
Physical signs of sexual abuse are rare. This is because adults abusing a minor may take extra precautions not to leave evidence of abuse. However, when there are physical signs, they may include:
Bruising, redness, or bleeding around the mouth, genitals, or anus
Being afraid to be away from their parents or caregivers
Talking less often than usual
Avoiding removing clothes or bathing
Spending more time alone
Avoiding being alone with certain people
Sexual behavior that is inappropriate for their age
Excessive knowledge about sexual topics for their age
Changes in their eating habits
Withdrawing from social activities
Disinterest in school and extracurricular activities
Symptoms of anxiety and depression
Changes in sleep patterns
Anger and aggression
What to Do if You Notice Warning Signs
While it is important to note that the above warning signs don’t always point to sexual abuse, it’s still important for you to act if you suspect it anyway. Rather than waiting for “proof” of abuse, try reaching out to your local sexual assault services. You can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673).
Mental Health Treatment in North Carolina
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Whether you have questions about mental health or how to support a loved one struggling with mental illness, we are here for you. Contact us today by filling out a confidential form or give us a call at (828) 490-4032.