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Help stop sexual and domestic violence in children

This article is Sponsored by Arizona Department of Health Services

Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. And every 9 minutes, that victim is a child. The effects of child sexual abuse can be long-lasting and may lead to an increased risk for depression, anxiety, suicide, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic health issues.

What Do Perpetrators of Child Abuse Look Like?

The majority of perpetrators are someone the child or family knows. It’s estimated that around 93% of victims under the age of 18 know the abuser. A perpetrator does not have to be an adult to harm a child. They can have any relationship to the child, including an older sibling or playmate, family member, a teacher, a coach or instructor, a caretaker, or the parent of another child.

What Are the Warning Signs?

Child sexual abuse isn’t always easy to spot. The perpetrator could be someone you’ve known a long time or trust, which may make it even harder to notice. Consider the following warning signs:

Physical signs:

  • Bleeding, bruises, or swelling in genital area
  • Bloody, torn, or stained underclothes
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Frequent urinary or yeast infections
  • Pain, itching, or burning in genital area

Behavioral signs:

  • Changes in hygiene, such as refusing to bathe or bathing excessively
  • Develops phobias
  • Exhibits signs of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Expresses suicidal thoughts, especially in adolescents
  • Has trouble in school, such as absences or drops in grades
  • Inappropriate sexual knowledge or behaviors
  • Nightmares or bed-wetting
  • Overly protective and concerned for siblings, or assumes a caretaker role
  • Returns to regressive behaviors, such as thumb sucking
  • Runs away from home or school
  • Self-harms
  • Shrinks away or seems threatened by physical contact

Where to Get Help.

When someone you love tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, it can be a lot to handle. It’s useful to have resources on hand that can help you work through these emotions. Call the Arizona Sexual and Domestic Violence Services Helpline at 800-762-6400 or email helpline@acesdv.org for confidential help and support.

Sources:

https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence: It’s estimated that around 93% of victims under the age of 18 know the abuser.

https://www.rainn.org/statistics: Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. And every 9 minutes, that victim is a child.