When Children Hide Child Molestation

child molestation, sexual abuse, jailWhen an anonymous mom asked what are the signs of child molestation (sexual abuse), it got me thinking about all the women I know who were molested as girls. All the men I know who were molested as boys. Child molestation is so insidious; its victims are affected for life--and often carry their  "secret" with them throughout adulthood. Talk to your children about the reality--every adult is not to be trusted, and if any adult ever makes them feel uncomfortable or asks them to do something they don't want to--they should say "no!" and tell you immediately.  


Here is a list of some of the most common signs of child molestation (of course, individually they may not point to that, but in all cases trust your instinct) :

  • Changes in behavior such as withdrawal, fearfulness, crying without provocation.
  • Change in eating habits.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns, fear of the dark or nightmares.
  • Regression to more infantile behavior such as bedwetting, sucking their thumbs, or abnormal and excessive crying.
  • Bruises, rashes, cuts, limping, or poorly explained injuries
  • Vaginal or rectal bleeding, pain, itching, swollen genitals, vaginal discharge, or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Stained or torn underwear.
  • Unusual interest in or knowledge of sexually related matters or expression of affection in ways inappropriate for a child of that age.
  • Fear of a person or an intense dislike at being left somewhere or with someone (relatives, babysitters, etc)
  • Other behavioral signals such as aggressive or disruptive behavior, running away, failing in school.

If a child tells you that they have been sexually abused in any way, believe them. Children rarely lie about sexual abuse and 80% of all child molestation cases involve someone the child knows.

It is NEVER a child's fault.

If you have been a victim of sexual abuse yourself, it might be helpful to join one of the private groups on CM like Overcoming Sexual Abuse (which amazingly has nearly 600 members).

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