If You’ve Ever Wondered If Your Child Is Being Sexually Abused, You Need To Read This
It’s estimated that there are over 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse living in America today. This epidemic has existed for centuries and continues to grow despite ongoing education and rising awareness of the situation. A clinical psychology study performed by the University of South Alabama revealed that an estimated 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of every 6 boys are exposed to some form of sexual abuse as a child. Before we go any further, let’s define exactly what child sexual abuse is: child sexual abuse is when an adult or older adolescent uses a child in any way for sexual stimulation. This can include touching, non-touching, and verbal activities.
Examples of touching activities include:
Touching a child’s genitals or private parts for sexual pleasure. Making a child touch someone else’s genitals, play sexual games or have sex putting objects or body parts (like fingers, tongue or penis) inside the vagina, in the mouth or in the anus of a child for sexual pleasure.
Examples of non-touching activities include:
Showing pornography to a child. Deliberately exposing an adult’s genitals to a child. Photographing a child in sexual poses. Encouraging a child to watch or hear sexual acts. Inappropriately watching a child undress or use the bathroom.
Examples of verbal activities include:
Making sexual comments to a child about their body. Trying to get a child to talk about their genitals inappropriately. Having a child “talk dirty” for you. Describing sexual activities to a child for one’s own sexual stimulation.
How Can You Tell If Your Child Is Being Sexually Abused?
Children often do not speak out about the sexual abuse they’re experiencing. This happens for many reasons including – fear of retribution from their abuser, thinking they will not be believed, not understanding that what they are experiencing is wrong, or feeling embarrassed about the abuse and thinking it’s their own fault, among many others. But, there are usually some noticeable behavioral signs when a child is being sexually abused. Here’s a list of some things to watch for.
- Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects
- Excessive nightmares, sleeping problems
- Becoming withdrawn or very clingy
- Becoming unusually secretive
- Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings and seeming insecure
- Regressing to younger behaviors, e.g. bedwetting
- Unaccountable fear of particular places or people
- Outburst of anger
- Changes in eating habits
- Unexplained knowledge of sexual behaviors
- New adult words for body parts with no obvious source
- Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts
- Self-harm (cutting, burning or other harmful activities)
- Physical signs, such as, unexplained soreness or bruises around genitals or mouth, sexually transmitted diseases, and obviously pregnancy
- Running away
Not any one of these signs by itself means that your child is being sexually abused, but if your child exhibits multiple signs from this list without there being an obvious reason, it seriously suggests that you need to start asking questions and investigating the situation more deeply.
As parents, we never want to believe our spouse, other child, a trusted friend or family member, or anyone else in our lives would ever be capable of doing something wrong to our children, but it happens so often. A staggering 93% of child sexual abuse crimes are committed by a family member or acquaintance of the victim.
How Can You Prevent It From Happening?
Make sure your child understands what is, and is not, appropriate for another person to do with them. Also, make sure your child is completely comfortable talking to you about anything. Know everything you can about the people who come in contact with your children. Insist on knowing the details of any relationship your child has with other family members, teachers, family friends, older kids, etc. Don’t “sugarcoat” this subject with your children. Be explicit in explaining to them the dangers they may encounter, and make sure they’re well aware of the “creepers” in this world.
If you have any reason to believe that your child (or any child you know) is being sexually abused, do not wait for proof! Address the issue immediately. If you do not know where to begin, you can visit the Darkness to Light website or call 1-800-For-Light (800-367-5444).
On A Personal Note:
Doing research for this article, I came across some of the most despicable, stomach-turning, and devastatingly sad stories I have ever had the misfortune of reading and hearing. There are some sick motherfuckers out there people, and according to statistics, the chances are you have more than one of those twisted humans in your life already and will probably never know it. I experienced sexual abuse as a child myself and have known several people that have gone through it as well. It’s something that never leaves you. The chances of something like this happening to your child or a child you know are much higher than anyone wants to admit. Believe me, nobody would have ever thought it would happen to me. Don’t ever assume you truly know anyone. Protect your kids at all costs, and never feel bad about anything you have to do in doing so.
If you’re interested in more statistics relating to childhood sexual abuse, visit ParentsForMegansLaw.Com.