According to RAINN, an American is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds. With alarming statistics like that, it’s important to recognize when someone we care about could be in danger. But the warning signs aren’t always obvious. Read on to learn the signs to look for so you know when to act.
Warning Signs for Young Children
Some sexual assault warning signs in children are easier to spot than others. Perpetrators often go to great lengths to try to hide their actions, so trust your instincts. If you feel like something isn’t right, watch for signs of abuse and talk to the child in an age-appropriate way.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Signs of trauma to the genital area, such as unexplained bleeding or bruising
- Not wanting to be left alone with certain people
- Regressive behaviors, such as thumbsucking or bedwetting
- Sexual behavior that is inappropriate for the child’s age
- Trying to avoid removing clothing to change or bathe
- Change in eating habits, mood or personality
- Loss or decrease in interest in school, activities, and friends
- Nightmares or fear of being alone at night
- Self-harming behaviors
For a more complete list of sexual assault warning signs in children and signs that an adult may be hurting a child, visit the RAINN website.
Warning Signs for Teens
According to RAINN, the highest risk of sexual violence is against those ages 12-34, with females ages 16-19 being four times more likely to be victimized than the general population. Many of the warning signs for teens can easily be mistaken for the everyday struggles teens face, therefore it’s important to trust your gut if something feels off. Talk to the teen, remind them that you are available to talk and that if an assault did happen, it’s not their fault.
- Unusual weight gain or weight loss
- Signs of physical abuse
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or other genital infections
- Signs of depression, anxiety, or worry
- Falling grades
- Paying less attention to hygiene, appearance, or fashion than usual
- Self-harming or suicidal behavior
- Drinking or drug use
For a more complete list of sexual assault warning signs in teenagers, visit the RAINN website.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. If you or someone you care about is in abusive relationship, please call our 24-hour crisis line at 317.920.9320 to chat with an advocate about your situation and options.