Sexual exploitation of children under 10 years and adolescents is, unfortunately, becoming more and more prevalent with each passing day. Contrary to popular belief, both boys and girls can be exploited, and the criminal needn’t always be a man. Having said that, encouraging your kids to speak to you, teaching your kids about good and bad touch, and keeping an eye out for changed behaviours are some things you should do to protect them. Here are some apparent and hidden signs that your child is being sexually exploited.
Playing sexual games:
If you see your kid trying to penetrate themselves with a certain object or display inappropriate behaviour with other kids, it is one of the surest signs that your child is being sexually exploited. Your child may even start talking ‘dirty’ and saying stuff that kids their age are most likely to not know.
Remember that these aren’t your kid’s vulgar fantasies. Your child can’t possibly fall into a bad company under 10 years at such a young age. They have witnessed it happening to them and they are only repeating what they were shown. So, ask them where they learnt it from, and take it from there.
Staying aloof and withdrawn from one person:
It may be a guard, the watchman, the driver, the cook, the cleaner, a guest, a family friend, a teacher, or even a relative! Never underestimate your kid’s discomfort and lack of interest to go meet that person. This is one of the biggest traits in recognising molestation in kids.
Your child will particularly give out negative vibes around that individual and you need to be alert enough to pick them up. If this happens, take your kid in confidence and ask them the real reason as to why they behave so. They will most likely open up to you.
Bleeding and infection around the private parts:
This is one physical change that comes over if your kid has been penetrated forcefully. It may usually be difficult for parents in recognising molestation in kids, but any physical damage on your kid’s body mustn’t be taken lightly.
Upon asking, your child may refuse to tell you the real story. They are often blackmailed and scared in such situations. Or your kid may narrate all the happenings to you in great detail. However, your child responds, take it very seriously. And believe every word that they say, no matter how difficult it may be to believe.
Sudden behavioural changes:
A socially outgoing kid suddenly becoming shy and withdrawn or a bright kid struggling to barely pass his tests are big red flags or major signs that your child is being sexually exploited. Kids who are molested lose their self-confidence which causes them to behave differently than their natural self. They may cry more often, throw tantrums, or refuse to do simple stuff around the house that they are usually habitual off.
Don’t wave off the subtle signs of sexual violation in kids’ behaviour because your kid may be struggling for help. Your kid may be screaming for help internally while you may be completely unaware of it. The underlining aspect is that their behaviour turns completely around, and you, as a parent, will see an obvious change here.
Summing it up:
Sometimes, your kid may be undergoing a huge turmoil inside themselves and display nothing on the surface. You will keep looking for signs that your child is being sexually exploited, but you won’t find any. Therefore, always trust your gut instincts as far as your children are concerned. Don’t let people with negative vibes around your kids and don’t force them to something they are apparently uncomfortable with.
The basic parenting responsibility is teaching your kids about good and bad touch. But even if any molestation takes place with your kid, give them all the help they can get. Look for subtle signs of sexual violation in kids’ behaviour like the ones mentioned above, and you’re sure to pick a hint if anything fishy is going on. Seeking help and helping your kid recover are the next steps. But keep your eyes and senses alert in this regard – for both your little and adolescent kids.