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"One year ago, I locked my door and went to sleep; like we all do on any given night. Unfortunately, this night was like no other before and was one I will never be able to forget. I woke up that night to a co-worker who had undressed himself, crawled into my bed and raped me. "
Kathleen, rape survivor

Rape is a crime, talking about it isn't. SPEAK.

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Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse

        Child sexual abuse can be hard to detect for several reasons. Children's bodies tend to naturally heal very quickly and sexual predators are known to extensively groom their victims to ensure that little or no evidence of the assault took place.

        While this list is by no means exhaustive, it can serve as an initial tool for a concerned party to evaluate whether they should report a possible case of child sexual abuse to the police or local child protective services.

  • A sudden regression to infantile behavior in a child that does not normally exhibit such symptoms. These include thumb-sucking, excessive crying and bedwetting.

  • Disturbed sleep patterns, sudden fear of the dark, or excessive nightmares.

  • A disturbance of appetite.

  • Behavioral differences such as fearfulness, withdrawal, and crying for no apparent reason.

  • Lashing out in school or a sudden decline in grade performance.

  • A marked increase in aggressiveness and/or anger.

  • A marked intolerance of being touched, even hugged.

  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior.

  • Strange clothing, such as turtlenecks or long sleeves in the summer.

  • An irrational fear of being left alone.

  • A seemingly irrational and sudden fear of being left alone with a certain person.

  • Direct or indirect statements or hints about the abuse.

  • A sudden behavior of sexual activity with other children or adults.

  • Strange drawings or paintings that hint at sexual activity.

  • An unexpected and unwarranted increase in curiosity about anything sexual in nature.

  • Unusually stained or torn undergarments.

  • A sudden onset of unexplained injury to the genitals, mouth, or anal area as well as urinary infections or STDs.

    © 2007 After Silence - This article may not be reprinted or reproduced without express permission.


This site is offered for support of other rape and sexual abuse survivors. It is not meant to be a substitute for any kind of professional help.
If you are in a crisis situation we urge to contact your local rape crisis center or health care professional.

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