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Know the signs: Sexual Abuse

Signs young children 9 years and older may exhibit

Physical signs

  • Painful urination or bowel movement
  • Sore throats or trouble swallowing
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Feeding and bowel problems
  • Self-harm
  • Gain or lose a large amount of weight
  • Frequent urinary or yeast infections
  • ​Become pregnant or contract a venereal disease(s)

Behavioral signs

  • Depression or withdrawal
  • Suicidal thoughts or gestures
  • Nightmares or trouble sleeping
  • Sudden changes in school performance (plummeting grades, skipping school)
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Promiscuous activities
  • Run away from home
  • Secretive or isolated
  • Trouble making friends
  • Exhibits adult-like sexual knowledge, behavior or language
  • Feeling shameful or guilty
  • Excessive or public masturbation
  • Reenacts sexual abuse or tries to initiate behavior with siblings or other children
  • Shows great worry for siblings or assumes caretaking role
  • Extreme mood swings (crying, violence, fear, withdrawal, depression)
  • Writes, draws, plays, or dreams of sexual or frightening images
  • Regressive or clingy behavior
  • Feels threatened by physical contact
  • Develops phobias
  • Fear of situations outside of their control
  • Engage in fire-starting activities
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Complaints of physical ailments such as headaches, stomachaches or pain

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