Children do not have the knowledge, experience, or words to express what they have experienced or suffered, because sexuality is an unknown world to them. So they will express their suffering and unhappiness using their body.
If in doubt, consult a professional.
Here are some signs that should alert you:
– bruising, pain and sores on the genitals, thighs or elsewhere on the body;
– genital and mouth irritation, recurrent urinary tract infections;
– significant weight gain/loss;
– with older children: eating disorders, self-mutilation and bodily marks, use of drugs and alcohol.
These are some behavioral changes that can alert you:
– they isolate themselves, no longer talking about their day, no longer saying what they did, no longer interested in what they previously enjoyed ;
– they are afraid, they refuse to go anywhere alone;
– their grades are deteriorating;
– they refuse hugs, physical proximity;
– they do not want to undress in front of an adult when they wash, go for a medical examination or visit the pool/beach;
– they are anxious, nervous, often cry or get angry, regress, begin to act and speak like a baby, suck their thumb, wet their bed when they were dry before;
– they lose their appetite, suffer from insomnia, are afraid to fall asleep because of recurring nightmares;
– they show an abnormal sexual interest: they address sexual subjects they should not know at their age, mimic sexual behavior, masturbate or mimic sex noises in public, make explicit drawings, increase seductive behavior;
– they are aggressive with those around them.