These days, children can become victims of sexual exploitation in a variety of ways. If the sexual predator is a parent, the incest is likely to be a closely held secret. Whoever the predator, sexual abuse has long-term, devastating consequences.
The warning signs of sexual abuse include the following :
- A young child who suddenly has difficulty sitting or walking, suggesting injury to the genital area.
- A child who suddenly refuses to change for gym or take part in other physical activities at school.
- A child whose hygiene changes suddenly, since children who have been sexually abused may feel “dirty” and stop bathing (or become obsessed with cleanliness, and wash constantly).
- A child who demonstrates unusual knowledge of sex or sexualized behavior.
- A child who becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, especially under the age of fourteen.
- A child who says s/he has been sexually abused by a parent or caregiver.
We assume that the predator parent or caregiver (uncle, boyfriend, etc.) is likely to be secretive and isolated. This is not always, however, the case.
The sexual predator may be unusually “protective” of the abused child, often sharply restricting a child’s contact with other children – particularly those of the opposite sex.
We are the only guardians children have against the darkness of this world. It is vital that we remain vigilant on their behalf.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5: 8).
 Prevent Child Abuse America, “Recognizing Child Abuse: What Parents Should Know”, https://preventchildabuse.org/resource/recognizing-child-abuse-what-parents-should-know/.
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