Domestic Violence

  • Withdrawal from others to appease abuser and/or hide abuse so become isolated
  • Shame or self-blame for the abuse
  • Lack of sense of identity – gets lost trying to appease and stay safe
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Fear of staying and fear of leaving (most dangerous time, fear of being alone)
  • Easily startled or agitated
  • Minimization – to make sense of their decision to stay, to feel more in control/safer
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Health issues (chronic brain, GI issues, migraines, traumatic brain injury)
  • Feeling stuck

Sexual Assault

  • Shame, self-blame
  • Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (i.e., hyper-vigilance, flashbacks, anxiety, etc.)
  • Physical pain
  • Fear of being alone
  • Numbing out
  • Feeling unclean
  • Fear of not being believed or blamed by others
  • Difficulty with sex as it may be triggering
Worldwide, men who were exposed to domestic violence as children are 3-4 times more likely to perpetrate intimate partner violence as adults than men who did not experience domestic abuse as children.

Adults Abused as Children

  • Shame, self-blame or poor self-concept/worth
  • Chronic health issues
  • Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (i.e., hyper-vigilance, flashbacks, anxiety, etc.)
  • Difficulty trusting self and/or others
  • Numbing out
  • Feeling unclean
  • Negative view of others, world or self
  • Self-Injury or harming behaviors
  • Difficulty with sex as it may be triggering

Signs of Abuse in Children

Maryland defines child abuse as: Physical injury (not necessarily visible) of a child under circumstances that indicate that a child’s health or welfare is harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed.  This includes:

  • The failure to give proper care and attention to a child, leaving a child unattended where the child’s health or welfare is harmed or a child is placed in substantial risk of harm.
  • An act or acts involving sexual molestation or exploitation whether physical injuries are sustained or not.
  • Identifiable and substantial impairment of a child’s mental or psychological ability to function.
  • Finding credible evidence that has not been satisfactorily refuted that physical abuse, neglect or sexual abuse occurred.

Behavioral signs

  • Displays sexual behavior and/or uses sexual language that is not age appropriate
  • Behavioral regression
  • Self-injurious behavior
  • Suicidal thought and symptoms of depression
  • Sleep disturbance, nightmares, bedwetting
  • Unexplained changes in child’s behavior: avoiding physical contact, isolating themselves, excessive bathing or refusal to bathe

Physical signs

  • Painful urination or defecation
  • Pain, bleeding, or discharges in genitals, anus or mouth
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Persistent or recurring pain during urination and bowel movements
  • Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training

If you are concerned about child sexual abuse find out how to make a confidential report here:

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