Signs of Sexual Abuse

Physical signs

Physical signs of sexual abuse are rare but may include:

  • Pain, bleeding or discharge in genitals, anus, or mouth
  • Vaginal infections
  • Cuts or tears around the vaginal area or the anus
  • Other physical trauma (redness, rash, swelling) to genital or anal area
  • Persistent or recurring pain during urination or bowel movements
  • Wetting or soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

If you see physical signs of abuse, have your child examined by a professional immediately, or call the police.

Behavorial and emotional signs

Behavioral signs or changes are more common and can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances including nightmares or night terrors
  • Change in eating habits
  • Unusual fear of certain people or places; reluctance to be alone with a certain person
  • Changes in mood that could including anger, aggressiveness towards parents, siblings, friends, pets
  • Rebellion or withdrawal; runaway behavior
  • Change in attitude towards school or academic performance; lack of interest in friends, sports, or other activities 
  • Unexplained or frequent health problems like headaches or stomachaches
  • Poor self-esteem; avoidance of relationships
  • Self mutilation or change in body perception like thinking of self or body as dirty or bad; suicidal thoughts 
  • Regression to previously outgrown behaviors, for example bedwetting or thumb sucking
  • Abnormal sexual behaviors or knowledge of advanced sexual language and behaviors 
  • Too "perfect" behavior or overly compliant behavior