How To Tell If Your Friend is Going Through Abuse
Do you find your best friend feeling low and depressed? Has he or she become fearful of certain places or an adult who they were not afraid of before? Have they suddenly started to avoid coming home or going to school? Do you often spot them spacing out in the middle of a conversation? Have they started feeling insecure? Have they ever referred to having secrets with an adult that they cannot share?
If the answer to any of these questions is YES, then you need to help your friend.
Often signs of sexual abuse are not obvious because there are usually fewer physical symptoms than the emotional ones. However, children/teens who are being abused/ or are survivors of abuse often exhibit certain characteristic symptoms that we all should keep in mind.
So today, we are going to tell you when to suspect abuse in children or your peers so that you can help them fight the battle.
- Are they having trouble falling asleep?
If nightmares have become too common and they cannot go to sleep as easily as they used to in the past, then this hints towards emotional turmoil. The reason may not always be sexual abuse, but it is essential that you speak to them about it and rule out sexual abuse.
- Have they become sad, aloof, or clingy?
If you notice your friend, who earlier used to make group conversations so lively with jokes and laughter has suddenly become passive or quiet then you must speak to him/her. Explore if anything is bothering them or if they are scared of someone they know.
- Are they suddenly too secretive?
If any of your friend or class fellow refers to ‘secrets’ that he/she has with an adult and cannot share it with you then try to find out that the secret does not relate to any kind of abuse.
- Do they lose their temper on petty things?
If you notice your friend has suddenly become excessively aggressive or display intense anger and rage in little things or towards someone specifically then you need to help your friend.
- Do they have inappropriate knowledge of sexual content and behaviour?
If you notice that your friend has suddenly started discussing inappropriate sexual content with you or tries to show you such content then you must stop your friend and explore where did he/she got access to such information? If they hesitate to share with you then you must inform an adult to help her/him out!
Is there an injury or a mark which wasn’t there before?
If so, then speak to your friend about it, check if everything is okay and if they want to talk about anything that is pressing-
Some of the behaviours and psychological reactions listed above can be a result of emotional upheavals that your friends may experience inevitably. The death of a loved one, problems at school or with personal relationships can make your friend exhibit symptoms which do not necessarily mean that they are being sexually abused. However, if you notice all of the symptoms from the list above then it is essential to explore further if abuse has taken place.
Remember, sexual abuse can dent anyone’s confidence and self esteem. Your friends may be reluctant in sharing the incident with you but you need to assure them that you are there to help them out. So HELP your friends!!