Most sexual abusers know the child they abuse. The abusers may be family friends, neighbors or babysitters. About one-third of abusers are related to the child. Most abusers are men. If you think a child may have been abused, it is important to report it.
The number of unreported cases of child sexual abuse is greater than the number of reported cases, and the reason is that many children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened. Nevertheless, the long-term emotional and psychological damage of sexual abuse can be devastating to the child.
Often times there are no obvious external signs of child sexual abuse. But, consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the child:
-- runs away
-- has difficulty walking or sitting
-- reports nightmares or bedwetting
-- experiences a sudden change in appetite
-- reports sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver
-- suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities
-- demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior
-- becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, particularly if under age 14