Lifestyle

Common signs of s.e.xual abuse in children

The topic of child abuse has often been understated, but this does not mean that the problem does not exist. Children across the world experience s.e.xual abuse every day in some form and the numbers take a plunge every year.

Be it physical or emotional, violating kids s.e.xually leaves a deep impact on their mental health, which may keep bothering them throughout their lives. They may have difficulty trusting people, getting in a relationship or may suffer from depression.

As parents, we must prevent such incidents and provide sufficient support to overcome the trauma. For that, you need to understand what categorises sexual abuse and what are some of its common signs.

​What is s.e.xual abuse?
When kids are forced or tricked into sexual activity- physical, verbal or emotional -it is termed as sexual abuse. Kids often fall for it because they might not be aware of the topic or would be too small to understand the motive of the abuser. S.ex.ual abuse can happen anywhere – in person or online.

Types of .s.e.xual abuse
There are 2 types of sexual abuse – contact and non-contact. Contact abuse is where an abuser makes physical contact with a child, while non-contact abuse can happen in person or online. Contact abuse can include touching, kissing, oral sex or rape. Non-contact abuse includes flashing, masturbating, showing pornography or making videos. Kids might be able to express these things so you need to look for signs of abuse to help your kids.

1. Physical signs
Physical signs can be seen in your kid’s body that could indicate a problem, including the possibility of s.e.xual abuse:

Pain or itching in the genital area
Stained underwear with blood or other discharge
Rectal bleeding
Problems in walking or sitting
Soiling or wetting clothes, or bedwetting
Eating more or less than usual
Having trouble sleeping
Stomachaches
2. ​Behavioural changes
S..exual abuse also alters the behaviour of your kid. They may act differently or suddenly react in a different way. Some common things that you may witness are:

Staying quiet
Social distancing
Losing interest in schoolwork or other activities
Poor performance in school
3. ​Emotional changes
Any episode of s.e.xual abuse may be traumatising for kids. This can also make them more emotional.

Anxiety
Depression
Anger
Fear
Crying without any reason
Low self-esteem
confused sexual
Having nightmares
What you should do?
If your child confronts you about any such incident or you have any suspicion, talk about it calmly to your kid. First of all, assure them that it is not their fault and they should not feel guilty or blame themselves for it. Explain what you will do next and report the issue as soon as possible.

Source: Fakaza

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