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Children's Health

20 signs your child is being sexually abused

Dr. Tomi




Since children rarely admit to being sexually abused, it is vital that parents, family member and friends keep an eye out.
It’s important to note that catching these signs early and dealing with them immediately has tremendous benefits as the effect of child sexual abuse can last a lifetime.

Adults that were abused sexually as children deal with a wide range of issues from anxiety to drugs and alcohol problems.
The abusers are more often than not adults or older children (family members, friends, neighbors, teachers etc.) that have daily contact or access to your child; the warning signs to look out for are not just for the abused child but also for an adult who might be a predator.
Warning signs for a child being sexually abused;

1. Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects i.e. sexual like behavior.


2. New adult words for body parts with no obvious source.


3. Not wanting to be alone with a particular child or adult.


4. Unaccountable fear of a particular place, people or activity.


5. Sudden possession of money, toys or other gift without reason.


6. Asking other children to behave sexually or play sexual games.


7. Becoming unusually secretive with an adult or older child.


8. Becoming withdrawn, distracted at odd times or being clingy.


9. Writing, drawing or dreaming about sexual or frightening images.


10. Refusal to remove cloths when appropriate e.g. bath, bedtime.


11. Talks about a new older friend.


12. Sudden unexplainable personality changes e.g. outbursts of anger or fear.



13. Changes in eating habits. Drastic loss or increase in appetite or having difficulty in swallowing.


14. Regression to younger behavior e.g. bedwetting, thumb sucking, stranger anxiety.



15. Nightmares or sleeping problems.



16. Physical signs: unexplainable Pain, soreness, discoloration, bleeding or discharge from genitals, anus or mouth.


17. Persistent or recurrent pain during urination or defecation.


18. Involuntary urination or defecation.


19. Torn or bloody underwear.


20. Difficulty walking, sitting or standing.


Any one sign doesn’t mean a child is being sexually abused but the presence of several should raise suspicion and one should begin to ask question and consider seeking help.


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Dr Tomi Sofela (MBChB) is a graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ogun State registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. She is on a mission to pursue fulfillment and enjoys watching movies, reading novels and organizing friends and family get-together.