Signs of Child Molestation

Signs of Child Molestation

Children often don't tell their parents if they are being molested. However, there are certain signs that every parent should be aware of, to be able to stop their children from being further subjected to such form of abuse.
What do you see every time you look into the eyes of a child? Unbridled joy each time he sees a colorful butterfly flitting from flower to flower, or the look of utter disbelief every time you perform one of those simple tricks with cards? Children have their own world which is full of innocence and is untouched by the ugliness of the world around.
However, when the look of wonder and unadulterated admiration about things around is replaced by that of fear and agony, you know that the borders of this world have been transcended. Physical abuse, molestation, rape and/or murder are all deeds of a depraved mind. But how do you qualify those, that shred the last bit of scruple, and make innocent children victims of their pervert inclinations?
There is nothing more abominable than child molestation. Yet it is a sad fact that almost every child is vulnerable to it. Leave aside strangers, what makes the matter worse is, that in most cases, a child is molested by a family member or someone he knows well. A child is used to be hugged and cuddled by those around. But what does he do when he is taken advantage of by those he has grown up to trust?
Though children (specially the younger ones), may not be able to clearly distinguish between a 'good touch' and a 'bad touch', most of them would show some signs of molestation. It is very important for every parent to be alert of any change in their child's behavior, that may indicate that the child is a victim of abuse.
How to Identify Signs of Molestation
Look out for these common signs of child molestation, if you think your child is not being himself of late:
  • Sudden change in behavior like crying or losing temper without provocation. Showing increased timidity or fearfulness. Withdrawal from family and friends.
  • Regression to infantile behavior like bed wetting and/or sucking thumb.
  • Disrupted sleep pattern. Fear of the dark or having nightmares.
  • Expressing affection to adults or peers in ways that have sexual undertones.
  • Unexplained rashes, bruises, or injuries.
  • Stained or torn underwear.
  • The biggest tell tale signs are the health of the genitals. Vaginal or rectal bleeding, sexually transmitted disease, swelling, itching, or pain in the genitals without any apparent accident that could cause injury, are strong indicators of sexual abuse.
  • Unusual interest in knowing about matters related to sex.
  • Change in eating habits.
  • Disruptive behavior and failing in school.
All these signs suggest that a child has been subjected to molestation. Talk to your child in case he shows these signs. He might need a lot of coaxing and cajoling, as in many cases the perpetrator threatens the child of further harm to him, or to his family, in case he speaks of the abuse to anyone. In such a case, it is difficult for parents to know who is the person behind such form of child abuse. However, in certain cases children show excessive dislike, and fear of going to a particular person (like a relative or a babysitter) or being left somewhere like day care or at neighbor's place. If you suspect child molestation, take notice of such places and people. In case, the perpetrator is in the house, a molested child may stick around with his mother all the time. All these are just a few of the probable signs of child molestation. Listen to your child when he/she talks of something that relates to sexual abuse or child exploitation of any form. Don't dismiss it as a figment of your child's imagination or effects of watching television. Children rarely lie about sexual abuse. It is sad but true, that almost 80% of cases of child molestation go unattended to, as the perpetrator is one in the family.
Child Molestation Law
In almost all developed countries, there are strict laws involving severe penalties, that range from life imprisonment to capital punishment. In United States, there are a number of national laws to deal with child molestation charges. However, enforcement of these laws is in the hands of individual States. Although child sexual abuse is a crime in every state, 44 states prohibit death penalty for rape of any kind. Despite this, there are strict penalties for such crimes. It is important to report a case of child molestation to authorities as in many cases, such abusers are serial offenders.
Molestation leaves an ugly imprint in a child's mind, that often lingers as a painful memory throughout his life. It is very important for parents to help their children recognize if anyone, be it a stranger or a family member, touches or behaves with them in a way that has sexual undertones. Besides educating their children about child molestation, what is equally important is that parents should themselves be aware of signs of molestation. If these signs are identified on time, then remedial measures could be taken that would help reduce the trauma of child molestation.
Please Note: Some of the signs mentioned above (isolation, difficulty making friends, nightmares) might overlap with the signs of certain other psychological conditions or mental disorders; but when listed under child abuse, these, along with the others listed above, are some of the key factors that will help identify occurrences of the same.