Sexual abuse most commonly involves exploitation of a child for sexual gratification.
The abuser may be an adult or an older child or adolescent, and the abuse may include forcing a child to engage in sexual activities, asking or pressuring the child to do so (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure of the genitals to a child, displaying pornography to a child, rubbing the genitals against the child, physical contact with the child’s genitals, viewing of the child’s genitalia without physical contact, or using a child to produce child pornography. Selling the sexual services of a child is also sexual abuse.
- Difficulty walking/sitting.
- Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing.
- Pain, swelling, or itching in genital area.
- Bruises, bleeding, or lacerations in external genitalia, vaginal or anal areas.
- Painful urination.
- Vaginal/penile discharge.
- Venereal disease.
- Poor sphincter tone.
- Semen about genitals or on undergarments.
- Swollen or red cervix, vulva, perineum or anus.
- Simulation of sexual activity with younger or same age children.
- Excessive masturbation.
- Seductive behavior or sexual acting out towards adults, promiscuity, etc.
- Knowledge of sexual matters inappropriate to age or developmental level.
- Lack of trust, particularly with significant others.
- Poor peer relationships, social withdrawal.
- Sudden drop in academic performance.
- Unwillingness to undress for physical education class.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Arriving to school early/leaving late.
- Depression, guilt, shame
- Suicidal thoughts
- Behavioral extremes (overly aggressive or compliant).
- Behavioral regression (infantile behavior in older children).
- Nightmares/won’t sleep alone.
Do you suspect your child is being abused? Click here to see what to do next.
Do you suspect someone else’s child is being abused? Click here to see how to help.
Return to Signs of Abuse.