March 22, 2016

Teach Your Child Body Safety-Part 3

This week, we continue our series on how to teach children body safety. In this post, Jay shares some of the key signs we can look for as indicators of abuse.


Note: one or more of these indicators does not mean your child is being sexually abused, but if they do show some of these indicators, then there is good reason to investigate further.

General Signs of Sexual Abuse (0 to 12 years):
  • overly interested in theirs or other’s genitals
  • continually wants to touch private parts of other children
  • instigating and/or forcing ‘sex play’ with another child (often younger, more than 3 years difference in age)
  • sex play that is not appropriate, i.e. oral genital contact between a 7 year old and a 4 year old (note: with the increase in pornography viewing on the internet by young children, sex play is becoming more worrisome among similar-aged children)
  • sex play with another child happening more than three times, despite careful monitoring and discussion about inappropriateness
  • persistent masturbation that does not cease when told to stop
  • seductive/advanced sexual behavior
  • sexualized play with dolls or toys
  • sexualized play involving forced penetration of objects vaginally or anally
  • chronic peeping, exposing and obscenities
  • touching or rubbing against the genitals of adults or children that they do not know
  • persistent use of ‘dirty’ words
  • describing sexual acts and sexualized behavior beyond their years
  • drawings and/or games that involve inappropriate sexual activities
  • strong body odor
  • sores around the mouth
  • bruising or bleeding in the genital area; bruising to breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen or thighs
  • withdrawn and anxious behavior (irritable, clingy, listless)
  • secretive or say they have a ‘special’ secret that can’t tell (this may be to gauge your reaction)
  • child or child’s friend telling you about interference directly or indirectly
  • going to bed fully clothed
  • increase in nightmares and sleep disturbances
  • regressive behavior, e.g. a return to bed-wetting or soiling
  • sudden changes in behavior, e.g. from a happy child to an angry and/or defiant child
  • appetite changes (sudden and significant)
  • unexplained accumulation of money and gifts
  • not wanting to go to a certain person’s place or to an activity
  • indirectly dropping hints about the abuse (again, to gauge your reaction).

In Older Children (Adolescents):
Note: they may also display some of the above indicators
  • self-destructive behavior such as drug dependency, suicide attempts, self-mutilation
  • eating disorders
  • adolescent pregnancy
  • persistent running away from home and/or refusal to attend school
  • withdrawn, angry
  • saying that their body is dirty, ruin, damaged
  • pornography interest; verbally sexually aggressive obscenities

If you see a constellation of these behaviors, please don't hesitate -- find support right away.
Jayneen (aka Jay Dale) is an experienced teacher, editor, author, publisher, and most importantly a mother of three daughters and an advocate for sexual abuse prevention education (Body Safety Education) in homes and schools. Jay has written a number of books to empower children and to give them a voice including: Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept, No Means No!, Pearl Fairweather Pirate Captain and a information guide for parents and teachers entitled Body Safety Education. Jay works passionately and with ongoing commitment to ensure children are taught age-appropriate  sexual abuse prevention education.

For more information on this topic and Jay’s empowering children's books 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept', ‘No Means No!’ and ‘Pearl Fairweather Pirate Captain’, and her parents’ guide ‘Body Safety Education — A parents’ guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse’ go to

To talk to someone about child sexual abuse or any abuse, or for support as a family member or friend to someone who has experienced sexual abuse, please go to:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sign up for my free guide so you can stop spinning your wheels and instead navigate your way through each stage of recovery with ease and clarity. Get the support you need today