It's never too late to begin the healing process from childhood sexual abuse. It's never too early to fall in love with the person God created you to be. Long ago someone made a choice to take away your innocence, but today that someone can't touch your freedom to heal.

Indicators of SA

Sexual Abuse including Physical and Behavioral Indicators

 Physical indicators:

§  Fatigue due to sleep disturbances

§  Sudden weight change

§  Self-mutilation, that is, cuts or sores made by the victim on his/her own body

§  Recurring physical complaints that are without physiological basis, e.g., abdominal pains, headache, nausea

§  Difficulty in walking or sitting

§  Unusual or excessive itching in the genital or anal area due to infection(s)

§  Torn, stained or bloody underwear

§  Sexually transmitted disease(s)

§  Pregnancy

§  Injuries such as bruising, swelling, sores, infection to the mouth and/or areas around the genitals and/or anus

Behavioral indicators in a younger child:

§  Sad, cries often, unduly anxious

§  Short attention span

§  Inserts objects into the vagina or rectum

§  Change or loss of appetite

§  Sleep disturbances, nightmares

§  Excessively dependent

§  Fear of home or a specific place

§  Excessive fear of men or women

§  Lacks trust in others

§  Age-inappropriate sexual play with toys, self, others, e.g., replication of explicit sexual acts

§  Age-inappropriate, sexually explicit drawings and/or descriptions

§  Bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge

§  Reverts to bedwetting/soiling

§  Dramatic behavioral changes, such as sudden non-participation in activities

§  Poor peer relationships

§  Poor self-image

§  Overall poor self-care

Behavioral indicators in an older child:

§  Sudden lack of interest in friends or activities

§  Fearful or startled response to touching

§  Overwhelming interest in sexual activities

§  Hostility toward authority figures

§  Fire setting

§  Need for constant companionship

§  Regressive communication patterns, e.g., speaking childishly

§  Academic difficulties or performance in school suddenly deteriorates

§  Difficulties performing usual work responsibilities

§  Lack of interest in work and/or routine activities

§  Truancy and/or running away from home

§  Wears protective clothing or wears layers of clothing to hide bruises, e.g., keeps jacket on in class or in warm weather

§  Recurrent physical complaints that are without physiological basis, e.g., abdominal pains, headache, nausea

§  Lacks trust in others

§  Unable to “have fun” with others

§  Suicide attempts

§  Drug/alcohol misuse

§  Poor personal hygiene

§  Sexual acting out in a variety of ways, including promiscuity


Oregon Department of Human Services

British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development

Anti-Violence Project  

Coalition for children

Used by permission: Institute on Disabilities, Temple University, College of Education

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