When someone is a victim of sexual abuse, they may experience a wide variety of physical and emotional problems throughout their lives. Depending on a victim’s age group and personality, every person displays their reactions to sexual abuse differently than others. It is important for friends and family members to recognize the signs of abuse and help their loved ones seek help when needed.
Sexual Abuse Warning Signs in Children
Research shows that one in five girls and one in 20 boys are affected by child sexual abuse. Between the ages of seven and 13 years old, children are especially vulnerable to sexual abuse. If a child has been sexually abused, then he or she will likely display the following signs:
- Unexplained sleep problems or nightmares
- Distracted and distant personality
- Changed eating habits or lost appetite
- Sudden mood swings
- New or unusual fear of people or places
Adults should be on the lookout for behaviors that indicate that a child has been sexually abused. The child may keep certain secrets shared with an adult or older child or talk about a new older “friend.” They may draw sexual or frightening images, or they may say that they feel dirty, bad, or evil. If a child suddenly has money, toys, or other gifts with no explanation, this could be an indication of abuse.
Sexual Abuse Warning Signs in Teenagers
As the mind develops during adolescence, teenagers tend to see sexual abuse from a different angle and therefore react in an even more destructive manner than children. If a teenager has been sexually abused, then they may display the following signs:
- Cutting or burning themselves
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Running away from home
- Depression and anxiety
Teenagers who are sexually abused are more likely to become sexually promiscuous, and they could potentially attempt suicide. Teenage victims may fear intimacy or closeness, and they also often suffer from compulsive overeating.
Sexual Abuse Warning Signs in Adults
Adults have become more developed, both physically and mentally. Their reactions to sexual abuse tend to be different than those of children. They may display the following signs:
- Depression and anxiety
- Experiencing flashbacks of the sexual abuse
- Negative self-image
- Lack of close relationships
If an adult is sexually abused, then they may also lose interest in sex altogether. The adult may also develop guilty feelings, thinking that the abuse was their fault.
Contact an Aurora IL Personal Injury Attorney
Sexual abuse can cause a wide variety of consequences, from pregnancy to emotional trauma and overall lack of physical well-being. If you or a loved one has been sexually abused, you need legal representation. At Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur P.C., we have many years of experience providing victims with the legal resources they need, and we are ready to discuss your case. For a free initial consultation, please call a Kane County sexual abuse lawyer at 630-907-0909 to get the help you deserve.