Warning Signs

Has your child’s behavior changed lately? Does it seem as if he or she is anxious about going to a particular place or seeing a person? Does he or she suddenly have behavior problems such as aggressiveness or extreme mood swings such as brooding, crying or fearfulness? Has his or her grades taken a nosedive recently?

These could be warning signs of sexual abuse. The sexual abuse of a child is something that occurs across all ethnic and socio-economic boundaries, and is a taboo that needs to be especially addressed in the Black community, according to Donald S. Chandler Jr., Ph.D., LPC, a counseling psychologist and a professional counselor in Dallas. He provides psychological services to young adults and families, and is an adjunct professor at Eastfield College and the University of North Texas. His past research investigations included sexual aggression and victimization among African-Americans.

“African-Americans are less likely to report experiences of rape or child abuse. It has been documented that African-Americans generally believe that sexual abuse and incest occur most among other ethnic groups,” states Chandler. “One important explanation for the lack of reporting among African-Americans has been the belief `nothing will be done’ if they report sexual abuse or sexual assault.

“Psychologically, many African-Americans believe that the `burden of proof (for sexual abuse) is a responsibility of the victim versus other cultures (Whites), where the `proof of innocence’ is generally perceived as a responsibility of the accused. Shame and guilt about any form of sexual abuse is [also] common among African-Americans.”

According to statistics, 1 in 4 girls and at least 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused in some way by the age of 16. Between 85 percent and 90 percent of the abuse is from someone the child knows. Fifty percent of all assaults take place in the child’s home or the offender’s home.

Below are some common signs associated with child sexual abuse, according to Chandler:

Possible Psychological and Behavioral Signs of Sexual Child Abuse:

* Changes in sleeping patterns

* Bedwetting

* Nightmares or bad dreams

* Depression, irritability, or anger

* Low self-esteem, guilt, shame

* Avoidance of people or places

* Sexual advances or “touching” inappropriately

From FindArticles http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_24_101/ai_87210905/