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All About Sexual Abuse

Published on Oct 14, 2022 and last reviewed on Jan 20, 2023   -  5 min read


Any sexual activity without consent is sexual abuse. This article helps one understand what sexual abuse is and how to deal with it.


Everyone has the right to choose what they want to do with their lives. Any action that compels or coerces someone to do anything sexually they do not want to do is sexual abuse. It can also refer to behavior that interferes with a person's ability to manage sexual activity or the conditions in which it occurs, such as oral sex or penetrative sex. Sexual abuse does not have to be violent or public; it can happen at home, at school, or even on public transportation. Sexual abuse is not restricted to a specific age group; it can affect children and adults. Sexual abuse affects people of all sexualities in the same way.

What Acts Are Considered as Sexual Abuse?

Here is a list of a few acts that are considered sexual abuse:

How Do You Identify a Sexually Abused Individual?

Several telltale indications and symptoms indicate a person has been sexually abused. Physical, verbal, and psychological aspects are summarized as follows:

Physical Signs and Symptoms:

  • Multiple bruises of various colors on the flanks, buttocks, or thighs.

  • Lacerations.

  • Wrist abrasions, leg abrasions, and neck abrasions.

  • Severe abdominal pain.

  • Burning sensation during urination.

  • Menstrual disorders.

  • Urinary tract infections.

  • Unwanted pregnancy.

  • Miscarriage of an existing fetus.

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease.

  • Infertility.

  • Unsafe abortion.

  • Mutilated genitalia.

  • Haunting dreams.

  • Burns or fractures.

  • Symptoms of sexually transmitted illnesses such as bleeding, pain, or itching.

Behavioral or Psychological Signs and Symptoms:

  • Anxiety when approaching a specific location or person (where abuse has occurred or where the abuser may be found).

  • Adults express nervous, aggressive, or belligerent behavior.

  • Self-consciousness about sexuality.

  • Sexual practices that are "acted out."

  • Engages in alcohol and drug use.

  • Withdrawal from friends and social activities.

Verbal Signs and Symptoms:

  • Statements like "I do not like a specific individual" are examples of verbal indications.

  • When we are alone "a particular person" does stuff to me.

  • I do not like being alone with "a specific person."

  • "A specific person" played games with me, which I did not like.

  • Refuses to take the clothing off, even during bathing or swimming.

What Are the Factors That Impart Effects of Sexual Abuse?

The severity of the harm is determined by several criteria, including the severity, duration, frequency of the abuse, age at the time of the abuse, relationship with the abuser (a known perpetrator causes more psychological harm than an unknown perpetrator), and victimization.

Is Sexual Abuse Gender or Age-Specific?

The most common misconception is that sexual assault only affects children and women. Sexual abuse occurs regardless of gender, age, or sexuality. Straight and gay men and boys are both sexually attacked. Adults or children of both genders are harmed by sexual abuse and assault in distinct but equally devastating ways.

What Should You Do if You Are Being Assaulted Sexually?

Being sexually assaulted is not a choice, and it is critical to recognize that the victim is not to be blamed.

If you have been abused by someone, it is advisable to do the following -

  • Reach Out to a Trusted Person - Sexual abuse is traumatizing; reaching out to a trusted person ensures safety.

  • Immediate Medical Care - If sexual abuse includes penetrative sex or anal sex, a doctor can help avoid pregnancy and treat the anal region that is mutilated.

  • Psychological Fitness - It is typical for a sexual assault survivor to express a wish to avoid dealing with or processing the incident. On the other hand, healing does not occur through avoidance, so it is required to overcome it. Getting involved in a therapy group, working out, and getting back on track can all aid in coping.

  • Legal Action - Because the perpetrator is usually a family member or close friend, most survivors do not pursue legal action against them. However, the survivor must realize that this will not help them because the abuser can harm them or others. Regardless of their relationship, legal action should be pursued against the abuser.

How to Prevent Sexual Abuse in Children?

It is possible to avoid sexual abuse by identifying the perpetrator. Adults can sometimes recognize the abuser based on their feeling of touch, intents, or the direction in which the conversation is heading.

However, because children are innocent, it is up to the parents to spot the abuser using the following tips:

  • Even if the child does not want this "affection," he or she insists on embracing, touching, kissing, teasing, wrestling with, or holding the youngster.

  • Overly concerned with the sexuality of a specific child.

  • Make an effort to spend time alone with the child.

  • Offers to babysit or takes children on overnight adventures regularly.

  • Buying extravagant gifts for children or giving them money.

  • Allows children to get away with inappropriate behavior constantly.

  • Follow them to the washroom or when they go out of the house alone.


Sexual abuse is a broad word that encompasses everything from indecent remarks to marital rape. Sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of sexual orientation. Suppose one's child has been sexually assaulted. In that case, it is essential to recognize that as a parent. One should encourage the child and help them overcome their emotions rather than critisize or sympathize with them. It is always advisable to pursue legal action if one has been sexually abused, as the abusers can be medically fit or have psychiatric illnesses.

Last reviewed at:
20 Jan 2023  -  5 min read




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