Child sexual abuse is a terrible tragedy that occurs in countries worldwide. It involves engaging in any form of sexual activity with a minor. Unfortunately, most of the time, the perpetrator is someone the victim knows and may be related to the child in one way or another.
This type of trauma has significant effects on the victim, which can last even into adulthood. The psychological, physical, and emotional impact of child sexual abuse can cause permanent trauma in a child, if they don’t receive proper counseling and therapy.
Here are some common warning signs of child sexual abuse in pre-teens.
Sudden Change in Moods
The signs of child sexual abuse are either behavioral or physical. A sexually abused child may start displaying sudden mood swings, rage, unusual fear for specific people or places, insecurities, and withdrawal. The child begins to cry at little or no provocation in some cases. The child loses trust in anyone and will not speak or play with other children.
Giving Clues To Provoke Sexual Discussion
At times a child begins to provoke sexual discussions by giving little “clues.” It can be in writing, drawing, or randomly raising discussions on the topic. Others may experience sexual dreams or scary images. When you notice these changes in your child as a parent or guardian, it is critical to investigate and take the necessary measures.
Nightmares and Disrupted Sleep
Another common sign of child sexual abuse is the change in the regular sleeping patterns of the child. The victim suddenly begins to experience nightmares, has disrupted sleep, and sometimes refuses to go to sleep.
A Sudden Change in Eating Habits
A sexually abused child exhibits a sudden change in eating habits. Some lose appetite, while others develop an unusual appetite. Some victims have difficulty swallowing.
Showing Adult-Like Sexual Behavior
When a child suddenly starts exhibiting adult-like sexual behavior, it is a sign of child sexual abuse. It can be in speaking or knowledge. Sometimes the child refuses to share secrets shared with an older person.
Feeling Dirty or Showering Constantly
The child starts to think of themself as dirty. These thoughts manifest into actions by the constant need to take a shower to “clean” themselves. The victim may eventually develop feelings of self-hatred and feel inadequate and unworthy.
How Can Adults Overcome the Trauma?
Adults can assist the victims and themselves in overcoming these long-lasting traumas. Here are a few tips adults can do to overcome the traumatic impact of child sexual abuse.
Create a Safety Plan
If you suspect that a child is sexually abused, do not wait for evidence to take action. Educate all family members, start talking about sexual abuse, set clear family boundaries, and discuss with the whole family what may be happening. A safety plan is an essential tool in overcoming trauma in sexually abused children.
Track the Behaviors of Concern
Carefully keep track of odd behaviors. Check the behavior patterns that compromise the child’s safety. Then, try having a conversation with them to see if they will open up about possible abuse.
Seek the Right Guidance
If you have a situation that you need help handling, do not hesitate to contact the help center.
They are professionals trained to comfort and assist abused children and devastated parents.
Be Ready if the Signs Appear
There are many other resources available to families dealing with abuse who may need lawyers, counselors, and therapists. Keep these signs in mind so that you are adept to deal with a pre-teen who may be sexually-abused so you can follow the next steps of getting the care they need.