Advocate for Others
Being an advocate means that you are willing to stand beside someone when they stand up for themselves. It also means helping a friend see that they need help and sometimes getting help for them.
Please don’t take any steps to help a friend that put you in danger. If you see someone in trouble, get help now!
Keep in mind, any one sign does not mean that someone was sexually abused.
If you start to see several of these signs in a friend or family member, ask questions and encourage them to get help.
Things you may see in a child or teen who has been abused:
- Has nightmares or other sleep problems without an explanation
- Seems distracted or distant at odd times
- Has a sudden change in eating habits
- Refuses to eat
- Loses or drastically increases appetite
- Has trouble swallowing
- Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity, or withdrawal
- Leaves “clues” that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues
- Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places
- Refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child
- Writes, draws, plays, or dreams of sexual or frightening images
- Talks about a new older friend
- Suddenly has money, toys, or other gifts without reason
- Thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty, or bad
- Exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language, and knowledge
Behavior more typically found in adolescents (teens):
- Self-injury (cutting, burning)
- Inadequate personal hygiene
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Sexual promiscuity
- Running away from home
- Depression, anxiety
- Suicide attempts
- Fear of intimacy or closeness
- Compulsive eating or dieting
Remember, there are trusted adults who want to help. Reach out and ask!
Content Provided by: NSOPW