Friday, November 18, 2011
Sexual Abuse: Know the Signs - Be an Educated Parent
Of course, there could be another explanation but any of these signs should be addressed. If you have any suspicions or a feeling something is wrong, seek help of a mental health professional.
Physical Signs: Bloody, torn, or stained underclothes; pain, bleeding, burning, or itching in genital area; difficulty walking or sitting; frequent urinary or yeast infections; STD or pregnancy
Psychosomatic Signs: Stomachaches, headaches or marked mood swings; nightmares or trouble sleeping; sudden changes in appetite
Sexual Behavior Signs: Uses adult-like sexual knowledge, language or behavior; writes, draws or plays out sexual-type images; frequent use of masturbation
Emotional Signs: Resorts to aggressive behaviors: thumb-sucking, bed-wetting; sudden clinginess; depressed
Behavioral Signs: Shrinks away or seems threatened by physical contact; excessive bathing, poor hygiene; or talks about self as dirty or bad; trouble focusing; seems distracted or distant at odd times; overly protective and concerned for siblings, assumes a caretaker role; talks about a new, older friend; jumpy if the phone rings, a text or email comes in; suddenly has unaccountable money, gifts, toys or mail; runs to mailbox
If there was something your child said or did that made you concerned, ask. Do know that a child may not admit or deny the abuse usually due to fear, humiliation, guilt or shame, but studies show that if asked, kids generally will tell a trusted adult of their abuse.
Special contributor: Dr. Michele Borba