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Warning Signals

Hereby we present 45 warning signals

More and more is being said about the sexual abuse of children. The majority of the information , however, is concerned with the horrifying stories of really small children that fell victim to the pedophile priests. There is not enough emphasis yet put on the topic of how to ensure the safety of a child as well as how to teach the child to be able to defend itself and say no. There is not much information either for the parents to recognize that their child may have been a victim of the sexual abuse .Therefore we decided to present you with a list of disturbing signals. Those may induce you to make an appointment with a psychologist or a child sexologist. A book by Monika Zielona-Jenek and Aleksandra Chodecka “Jestem dziewczynką, jestem chłopcem. Jak wspomagać rozwój seksualny dziecka” (GWP, Gdańsk 2010) provides us with such a list of signals. The list is printed here prior to the consent from the publisher.

Worth noticing ! The certainty whether the sexual abuse really took place or not is not that easy. Please remember, that even the presence of several of the behaviors is not yet a proof that sexual harassment occurred. These are only warning signals, the symptoms that ought to be examined and explained. Not all of them carry the same weight as well. Many of them, moreover, might be the proof of other problems for example the child depression or the presence of a younger sibling.

 

The behavior of a child suggesting the possibility of the sexual harassment (children under five years old)

 

  1. they have specific physical symptoms around the genitals and anus for example the smell of sperm
  2. they feel pain and/or bleed form throat, genitals or anus
  3. they do not act sexually properly for their age, for example they are obsessed with the sexual questions
  4. while playing with toys and other children they perform the sexual acts thereby presenting too wide and inappropriate knowledge of the subject
  5. they act sexually improperly in front of the adults
  6. they draw sexual organs , for example a penis in erection
  7. they repeat vulgar words and phrases
  8. they cry hysterically during a nappy change
  9. they behave hysterically during undressing especially during taking off the underwear
  10. they show very strong fear in front of a specific person
  11. they seem anxious and engrossed in their thoughts but do not want to talk about it as if they had a secret
  12. they persist in saying that they are bad, indecent and impolite
  13. they become insecure and timid or inversely they stick to their parents too much
  14. they experience regression – their behavior is not appropriate for their age, they act as if they were younger 
  15. they seem to be full of apathy , become indifferent, they seem unhappy, confused, sad
  16. they become withdrawn , they stop eating and have nightmares, they might pee in their pants even if they stopped doing it long ago
  17. they change from happy and active into withdrawn and fearful ones
  18. they no longer enjoy group activities with other children like listening to stories or playing games 
  19. they become aggressive towards other children

The behavior of a child suggesting the possibility of sexual harassment (children between 5-12 years of age )

  1. they have urogenital infections as well as bleeding and/or pain from throat and genitals 
  2. They feel discomfort while walking and it shows 
  3. They have chronic ailments (for example headaches) 
  4. They have eating disorders f.e anorexia and bulimia
  5. they are obsessive in talking or writing about sex
  6. they behave in an appropriate sexual manner towards the adults
  7. they take over the parental power at home, seem to be older than they are (incest victims)
  8. they repeat vulgar words and phrases, which could be uttered during the harassment 
  9. they draw clear sexual pictures, showing the act of abuse
  10. they have money from the unknown source
  11. they are unwilling to undress during the P.E lesson 
  12. they become apprehensive and do not want to see certain adults for no apparent reason, they explicitly show that they do not like a certain babysitter, relative or any other adult person 
  13. they keep on finding excuses why they do not want to go home or visit somebody’s else home ( a place where the harassment could take place)
  14. they persist in saying that they are bad, indecent or spoilt
  15. they have a negative image of oneself
  16. they imply that they have a secret they do not want to share 
  17. they ask if somebody can keep their secret once revealed
  18. they say that their friend has a problem 
  19. they start to lie, steal , cheat as if they desperately wanted to be caught
  20. they return to the behavior characteristic to the younger children (regression) , thumb sucking , playing with the forgotten toys
  21. they start to have urinary incontinence again 
  22. they have sudden unexplainable changes in behavior either aggression or withdrawal 
  23. they have terrifying nightmares
  24. they become strongly depressive, they have suicidal attempts 
  25. they constantly run away from home
  26. they no longer enjoy the activities they liked for example music, sports, art, scouting or summer camps.