Abuse Child Advocacy

The Most Missed Signs That a Child Has Been Sexually Abused

In the United States, government authorities respond to a child sexual abuse report every 9 minutes. Recognizing the signs of abuse is the first step in protecting a child who’s in danger. Unfortunately, the signs aren’t always apparent.

Ninety-three percent (93%) of child sexual assault victims already know their abuser. Sexual predators are usually close to the family and in positions of trust, which means that parents and caregivers already have their guards down. It’s hard to fathom that someone in your inner-circle could be capable of violating a child.

Six child sex abuse signs that can be easily missed:

#1. The grooming stage.

One thing abusers have in common is their effort to gain trust.

Those efforts may include: gift giving without occasion or reason, allowing the child to witness them giving elaborate gifts to others (attempt to impress), taking the child out to eat, movies, being overly complimentary to the parent and/or child, extra time with one-on-one tutoring or coaching (alone time) trips out of town, and more.

Single moms beware! Initially you may be flattered that this person has taken a special interest in your child, but in reality the abuser sees you and your child as an easy target.

Keep your eye out for the grooming stage!

#2. Common misconceptions.

At least 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual abuse or assault, whether in childhood or as adults.  Don’t be blindsided!

Research on male childhood sexual abuse concluded that the problem is common, under-reported, under-recognized, and under-treated.

Parents, we must remain as diligent with protecting our sons as we are with protecting our daughters.

MYTH: Men who abuse boys are gay. FALSE.

Studies suggest that men who have sexually abused a boy most often identify as heterosexual and often are involved in adult heterosexual relationships at the time of abusive interaction. 

#3. Bedwetting or resuming behaviors they have grown out of.

Resuming behaviors of a younger child such as thumb sucking or wetting the bed are red-flags.

If you have a pre-teen or teenager, don’t dismiss bedwetting as just an isolated incidence. Pay attention!

#4. Unexplained bruising or spots on the sheets.

When children play outside and are involved in sports, a little blood here and there may not be cause for alarm. If you have boys, cuts and bruises are the norm and won’t even warrant a second look.

But, as we now know, any unexplained stains on the sheets or clothing is worth a mini-investigation.

#5. Sexual behavior that is inappropriate for the child’s age.

Other warning signs include; excessive talk about or knowledge of sexual topics, asking other children to behave sexually or play sexual games.

A toddler masturbating or mimicking adult-like sexual behaviors with stuffed animals, toys or other objects is a strong sign of sexual abuse.

#6. Typical pedophilia behavior: Tries to be a child’s friend rather than filling an adult role in the child’s life.

– Abusers are often in a positions which give them access to children (i.e. church, coaching, mentoring) either as a career or volunteer.

– The abuser may often talk with children about their personal problems and relationships.

– They may vocalize how much they “love kids” and have several relationships with children outside the scope of their professional realm.

Typical Signs in adolescents:

  • Self-injury (cutting, burning)
  • Inadequate personal hygiene
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Running away from home
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Suicide attempts
  • Fear of intimacy or closeness
  • Compulsive eating or dieting

Violations of trust are betrayals that have lasting effects. Parents, this is a matter of life or death, you can’t be too cautious. Remember, you are not alone. If you suspect sexual abuse you can talk to someone who is trained to help.

National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.

Online Prevention Training- https://www.stopitnow.org/prevention-training-on-demand

References: Rainn.org, Stopitnow.org, 1in6- https://1in6.org/get-information/the-1-in-6-statistic/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: