Childhood Sexual Abuse: Symptoms Part 3

This is the last post of a three-part series on childhood victimization including:

Part 1: How Sexual Predators Choose Child Victims

Part 2: Protecting Children from Predators

I write to bring child sexual abuse to the attention of anyone who will read, and to answer nagging questions of parents who are concerned about their children’s safety.

I especially write to the wife who is caught in an unspeakable circumstance. One where she suddenly finds out her husband is addicted to pornography, has a personality disorder, is mentally ill without medical or psychological intervention, or a combination of these issues; and the realization of who he is or what he is doing is unimaginable. You may see with your eyes, but are unable to process with your heart the evidence that your husband is crossing healthy emotional and sexual boundaries with you; or worse, with your children. (Sometimes it isn’t the husband but rather a sibling, cousin, friend, or neighbor).

If you suspect your child is being abused keep your eyes and ears open. Keep your heart set to ‘facts only’ with the possible perpetrator, and keep your heart, soul, mind and strength turned toward God. Pray scriptures out loud over the situation. *I have included scriptures at the end of this post. Immediately make an appointment for your child to see a child psychologist.

Spend time with your children. Study them. No one cares for their needs or loves them as much as their parents. If your spouse is the abuser then you may be the only parent who can advocate for and protect your child.

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE SYMPTOMS

Emotional/Behavioral signs:

  • Changes in behavior or personality; sudden mood changes or aggressive behavior. You notice it or other adults notice it.
  • Changes in academic performance at school.
  • New sudden fears of usual occurrences. Examples: fear of the dark, fear of going to bed, fear of a person, fear of going home, fear of going to school, fear of a place, fear of separating from you. Abused children may show anxiety or express apprehension about going somewhere with the person who is abusing them. They may hide from the person who is abusing them when they see them.
  • Loss of acquired language or memory problems. New inappropriate language which you did not teach them.
  • Changes in what they eat, or gagging on foods they normally eat. Loss of appetite.
  • Withdraws from family and/or friends.
  • Changes in sleep. They may begin having nightmares, night terrors, difficulty falling asleep or attempting to place borders/protection around their bed. Insomnia.
  • May find areas of their life they can control and become obsessive about it. Clothing, food, habits, body hygiene.
  • May begin high-risk activities; drugs, alcohol, self-abuse, sex.
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors or language for their age; if they say or do something to you that they should now know about.
  • Becomes unusually secretive.
  • Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts.
  • Becomes depressed or suicidal.
  • Complaints of headaches, stomach-aches or chest pain that accompany any other signs.
  • Afraid of undressing, or wearing extra layers of clothing.
  • A new fear of going to the bathroom. This could be psychological or due to pain.
  • Difficulty making friends.
  • Arriving to school early and staying late; to avoid being in their home.

Physical signs:

  • Unexplained injuries such as visible signs which your child has no explanation for or has an unconvincing explanation for.
  • Difference in their underwear; torn, stained or bloody.
  • Difficulty walking or sitting.
  • Redness, bleeding or rash in the external genital/bottom area.
  • Frequent, unexplained urinary tract infections or sore throats.
  • Sexually transmitted infections.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Trust your instincts. Suspected abuse is enough reason to make an appointment with a child psychologist. You can also call the victim coordinator at your local prosecuting attorney’s office and ask them where to go for help.

If you suspect abuse; do not ask your child questions. Allow a trained professional to interview them. Asking questions is considered leading the witness and the issue will most likely be thrown out in a court of law.

In the right margin of my blog I have listed several Christian resources to aid in the event of childhood victimization.

Also see: 

How Sexual Predators Choose Victims—Part 1

Protecting Children from Predators: Part 2

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

*Scriptures to pray: (NIV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, II Corinthians 4:13

“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14b

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5:6-7

No weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord. Isaiah 54:17

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:28-29

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Isaiah 43:2-3

If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:6

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. Psalm 28:7

You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. Psalm 103: 1-6

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you. You, Lord, are forgiving and good,  abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. Psalm 86:1-7

Do not hide your face from me
when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly. Psalm 102:2

Pour out your heart like water
    in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
    for the lives of your children, Lamentations 2:19

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Writer, wife, imperfect home schooling mom to 3 amazing humans. Writing about lessons learned from surviving 100% of my worst days. Educating the church about domestic violence & abuse in their midst. Advocating for abused women living in, or leaving destructive marriages. Living an A.I.P. lifestyle. St. Louis Cardinals fanatic. Dog lover, Football fan.

2 thoughts on “Childhood Sexual Abuse: Symptoms Part 3

  1. Carolyn, this is an excellent and helpful list. If I may add one thing to it…more of a continuance of what you say here. If the school calls and expresses a concern about seeing any of what you write here—or if they report your child has told someone about any of these things—do not minimize it. Treat it as seriously as if they had told you personally. There may be a reason the child feels they cannot tell a parent. Especially if the abuser is a family member.

    • Thanks, Mike! You are on point and I didn’t think about this. For me, I had friends notice a change in my child and it leant great weight to my suspicions. We need to believe the school, doctors, coaches, or anyone who brings a serious concern to our attention.

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