A Pennsylvania Attorney Handling Sexual Abuse Cases Explains Symptoms of Sexual Assault
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that one in six boys and one and four girls are sexually abused before age 18. This ratio increases to one in five men and one in two women with adulthood. For other genders like trans, non conforming and genderqueer, the rates skyrocket to two in three who experience sexual abuse in their lifetimes.
As a Pennsylvania attorney handling sexual abuse cases can attest, victims do not often disclose that they have been sexually assaulted right away or ever. They might even have reluctance for many reasons. These can include:
- Fear that the perpetrator may retaliate
- Fear that no one will help
- Fear they misunderstood abuse
- Fear there is not enough evidence
- Fear of getting in trouble
- Fear of the justice system
- Fear it will get worse
- Fear of disrupting relationships
- Fear of criticism
- Fear of interrogation or being examined
- Fear of being judged.
Because of this, it is absolutely imperative that we pay better attention to what is not being said. This includes the changes in behavior and physical complaints that signal someone is being sexually abused.
A child who has been sexually abused may experience frequent nightmares, trouble sleeping, refusal to eat, difficulty swallowing and increase or loss in appetite. They may also experience moodiness like raging, excessive crying, clinginess, withdrawal and fear of new or unusual places or people. If a child has become sexual with toys, pets, or other children, resistance to getting undressed, difficulty walking or sitting, provoking conversations about sex, drawing sexual jokes or using sexual terms, they could have experienced sexual abuse.
An adolescent who is being or has been sexually abused may exhibit signs of self injury, inadequate personal hygiene, drug or alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, running away from home, depression, truancy, suicide attempts, compulsive eating or dieting, aggression, and sexual interest towards children.
Children and adolescents who have been sexually abused are two to 14 times more likely to be victimized as adults from their peers. Many of these abuse signs carry on into adulthood.
Adults who have been sexually abused may show signs of depression, loss of interest in sex, compulsive sexual behaviors, uncertainty about their safety, feelings of shame or guilt, negative self image, emotional numbness, sense of dirtiness both inside and out, and prevalent distrust of others. Remember that everyone is unique, so they may or may not exhibit these signs.
What to Avoid Saying
Here are some questions and statements that you should never ask or say, regardless of the circumstance if a sexual assault victim confides in you:
- You are such an attention seeker.
- But women lie about being raped all of the time.
- I know it was not your fault, but please be careful now.
- But you are a man. Men cannot be raped.
- What were you wearing?
- Were you drunk?
- After how many drinks did this happen?
- Why did you not fight back?
- You are lucky you did not get hurt more.
- You must have wanted it at least a little bit.
- Why didn’t you report it?
- Why haven’t you reported it?
- Tell me how it happened.
- I do not believe you.
- Were you flirting with them?
- Did you lead them on?
- You could have said no.
- But you consented at first, isn’t that confusing to the attacker?
- Why are you talking to me about this?
- How were you raped if you were dating?
- Why were you there alone?
- You only have yourself to blame.
- It is your word against theirs
Contact a Pennsylvania Attorney Handling Sexual Abuse Cases for Help
Sexual abuse can be traumatizing. If you or a loved one has experience sexual abuse or assault in the home, school, workplace,or anywhere else, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Schedule an appointment with a Pennsylvania sexual abuse attorney from Wieand Law Firm. We can review your case and help you through any questions or confusions that you may have. Our legal team understands that you are going through enough and we want to help get you the fair compensation that you deserve.