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Signs Your Teen has been Sexually Abused

By: Mary Lutz Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Emotional Health

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As a youth leader in my church, and as an adult who was sexually molested as a child, I’ve learned to be able to see the signs a child has been sexually abused or is being sexually abused. Now, not all of the signs listed below indicate your teen, or someone you know has been sexually abused, but if you see any of these behaviors, please ask or get someone who can help.

Signs of Sexual Abuse

Withdrawn – When a child has been sexually abused, they tend to withdraw themselves from any type of social interaction, especially with adults.

Reject affection – Often a sexually abused child will reject any form of affection from adults or their peers. This includes hugging and/or terms of endearment.

Lack of confidence – A child who has been sexually abused tends to lack confidence in themselves and therefore thinks they aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, tough enough or good at anything. They also tend to think no one likes them.

Act out Sexually – Children who have been sexually abused in the past tend to act out sexually in their teen years. They are more promiscuous and will usually end up sleeping with just about anyone who will have them.

Starved for Attention – When a child has been, or is being sexually abused, they may appear to be starving for attention; doing anything and everything they can for some sort of attention.

What you can do

If you see these signs in your teen or in someone you know, please don’t hesitate to talk to them about it. You can start out by simply asking: “Has anyone ever touched you inappropriately?” They may be afraid, but you should be able to detect if they are hiding something. If a child has not been sexually abused, they will often answer with an emphatic NO. However, if they hesitate, or say “I don’t know” or look down and quietly say no, then most likely they have been and the perpetrator needs to be stopped immediately.

Your teen may be afraid to answer for fear of being hurt by the perpetrator or perhaps hurting your feeling, especially if the perpetrator is your spouse, sibling, other relative or close association. But, even if you have the tiniest suspicion your teen is being or has been sexually abused, call 911 immediately and seek out counseling for your teen.

Sexual abuse is very damaging to a person’s soul and if left untreated, the damage will carry on into their adult years.

Also, remember that it is NEVER a child’s fault if they’ve been sexually abused.

Grab your copy of No-Nonsense Parenting For Today’s Teenager – How To Feel Like A Good Parent Even When Your Teenager Hates You and see how it can change your relationship with your teen. It comes with a money back guarantee so this is a risk-free offer.

3 Comments to “Signs Your Teen has been Sexually Abused”


  1. nicola says:

    I think my son who is 13yrs, has been sexually abused. Although i have no proof and have spent the past 10yrs trying to figure out what is causing his disruptive behaviour, the level of his violence and the amount of aggression he has towards the world. He continues to runaway, from where ever he is staying. He shows signs of drug and alcohol gang connections beating up people committing crimes, and hes also sexually active. I have tried over the years to get him the help that i felt he needed, but was told by his father there was nothing wrong with him. I disagree with that, because my sons actions are telling me something else. I feel that my son has a being keeping a secret for many years, and has been sworn never to tell anyone because of what may happen to him if he did.
    My son shows withdraw signs. I have tried to talk to him to find out what it is that is bothering him, he just withdraws himself more and lies he will only tell a person what he thinks they want to hear. He, i feel is not coping, and is carrying a burden and guilt upon his shoulders and has done for along time. For him to be free of this, he needs to tell someone. At the age of 7 my son was able to draw a picture of 3 people inside a bed. One being himself, a female figure and a male figure. When i first saw this picture i was shocked, because of how this picture was drawn and of how much detail it had. He was able to draw more explict pictures of private parts, and had exposed himself to other children. To my way of thinking no child at the age of 7, is able to draw explict pictures unless they have been exposed or experienced to that sort of activity. Please can you advise me on what to do about this situation. Does my son show signs of a child who has been sexually abused?

    Many Thanks,

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  2. Aurelia says:

    Thanks for commenting and sharing with us! There seems to be many warning signs that you are noticing over the years and I commend you for being so observant.

    Sounds like your 13year old is really beginning to pull away from family and veer off towards troubled behavior. Have you tried to talk to him about his feelings? What about seeing a therapist (Just him solo or the 2 of you together)? I hope that things get better for him.

    BTW – have you subscribed to our newsletter? I share lots of information re: troubled teens there. Just submit your name and email address in the upper left corner of the page. Also here is a great resource that may help you…

    My Out Of Control Teen http://www.parentingmyteen.com/Out-of-Control.HTML is an online parent-program for those who are struggling with their out-of-control teenagers. learn cut-to-the-chase parenting strategies that work immediately rather than months or years down the road.

    Best of Luck!!

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  3. I think my teenage son who is 14 is being molested by his step mother. Not sure what to do, his father has custody and I am kind of helpless.

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