EQUIPPING OUR EYES TO RECOGNIZE SYMPTOMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE (PART A)
Of a truth, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to raise Godly children in today’s world. One of the core problems is the increasing cases of sexual abuse on children. Beyond praying and educating the children on sexual matters, parents need to equip their eyes to recognize traces of sexual abuse in their children. Most victims of sexual abuse have worried about themselves and have struggled with feelings of guilt they haven’t known how to handle.
The following lists of symptoms as outline by Paula Sandford, in her book “Healing Victims of Sexual Abuse” are not intended to be comprehensive or exhaustive; rather they serve to provide signposts that point to possible abuse. It is also important to realize that children who exhibit some of these behaviors might not be victims of abuse but could be acting out other pressures and influences in their lives.
A. BEHAVIOURAL SYMPTOMS IN TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOL CHILDREN
- Anxiety in the presence of persons with whom they used to be comfortable; being ill at ease around particular people or types of people. For example, tearful withdrawal from the presence of men and boys.
- Sudden unaccustomed fear of bathrooms or shower rooms, or nervous resistance to being undressed.
- Sleeplessness, disturbed sleep, nightmares.
- Excessive crying, clinging to a parent, not wanting to leave the house, unusually fearful responses to being left with a babysitter.
- Sudden personality changes; i.e., a normally quiet child becomes hyperactive or negatively aggressive toward other children.
- Excessive and chronic itching and/or tenderness in genital areas.
- Masturbation that exceeds curious exploration and discovery: preoccupation with excessive sexual manipulation or rubbing themselves against chair arms, pillows, dolls, etc. Sex play with other children beyond the normal “playing doctor” games: inserting objects into the vagina or anus, imitating aspects of adult love play.
A. BEHAVIOURAL SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN FROM PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE TO PRE-TEENS
- Disturbed sleep, nightmarish dreams, inability to sleep, wearing multiple layers of clothing to bed.
- Invention of irrational excuses not to participate in school or extracurricular activities that formerly inspired enthusiasm.
- Decline in consistency and quality of schoolwork; inability to concentrate, assignments not completed, truancy, tardiness, falling grades.
- Change in eating habits: nervous or distracted picking at food, compulsive overeating for comfort.
- In girls, poor personal hygiene in a girl who normally cares about her appearance (attempting to make herself unattractive).
- Increasing inability to relate well to peers, and unexplained anger and aggressive behavior.
- Sudden inordinate modesty, self consciousness about the body; fear of restrooms and showers.
- Reluctance to go home after school and sudden cessation of conversational sharing.
- Fear of being alone with men or boys; avoidance of particular people with whom the child used to be comfortable; withdrawal from friends and activities previously enjoyed.
- Running away: Boys tend more to run by withdrawing. Girls tend to literally run away from home.
Dear Parent, you cant afford to be ignorant of the vices of the enemies, please stay vigilant!