The Not Destroyed Family

How to tell if your child has been sexually abused

If you are here on this page, you are probably terrified. And I am so sorry.

I’ve been there.

Our house was one of the places where it happened. It happened while I was taking care of my baby girl, Hannah. Teenagers from our church youth group were filling every corner of our house with their laughter and games, and David, my husband, was outside in the yard playing with a horde of them. One of the teenagers, Sam, snuck Joshua into the nursery and raped him and forced him to perform oral sex. After Sam was done with that, he opened the door from Hannah’s nursery and found the master bedroom. My son Noah was playing in there. So, Sam raped Noah in our bedroom. Noah was 3. Joshua was 4. Sam was a few months shy of 18.  

As awful as it was to find out, it allowed us to protect our children and others from Sam — and it ultimately set us on the path to healing.

Sexual abuse is a horrific thing to experience, but pretending it didn’t happen won’t set you free. Only the truth can do that. You and your child deserve to be free, so start asking the questions that you know you need to ask. Let your children tell you what they are ready to say.

I’m sharing a checklist below. You can also click here to find out what to do if you suspect a child is being harmed or buy a copy of my book where I share more of my family’s story, practical parenting steps and encouragement for surviving and thriving.

Basic signs and symptoms of sexual abuse

  • Milestones a child previously accomplished are lost, previous behavioral issues that disappeared (i.e. fits, whining) return.
  • Bed wetting begins or returns and daytime bathroom accidents increase.
  • Child seems “off.” He may withdraw or have trouble focusing.
  • Fear of places or adults that doesn’t naturally go away.
  • Clinginess.
  • Excessive anger.
  • Acting out sexually, masturbating.
  • Interest in the human body and sexuality.
  • Parent has a gut feeling something is wrong.  

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