In today’s modern society we find sex everywhere — the media is especially filled with sex and sexual connotations. Unfortunately there are sexual predators out there as well. These predators prey on all age groups, from old to young. So it is especially important that our children understand how to stay safe. One basic is to teach them to recognize good and bad touching. And recognizing the signs of abuse is important as well. Here are some signs to be aware of in not only your children, but also those you may know.
Recognize physical signs. Unfortunately to really recognize physical harm, the child may have to be undressed. Signs of bruising, chapped skin and a general unkempt appearance are all potential indicators. Especially important to consider as suspicious is bloody underwear. Also, any severe changes in potty training or bed-wetting could be a sign.
Unusual behavior changes should also be addressed; especially if the behavior is sexual, and not age appropriate. Ask questions, but don’t be threatening; get him or her to offer information. Anger toward younger children and animals is also considered a clue. If the child was originally very outgoing and has suddenly become withdrawn, could be a victim.
Emotional signs of abuse also abound. Talk or thoughts of suicide or bodily harm can be an indicator, as can depression. Eating disorders also can be a clue. These emotions are actually an attempt to get help. Do not threaten or become angry, this will cause more alienation.
Changes in schoolwork can also be an indicator and this includes grade changes. If the child is younger, are the colors being used changing? If they write, read some of it for indicators. Using dark colors or writing about negative things such s death could be a child’s expression of a bad experience.