Child abuse is most certainly real and exists more rampantly than we can perceive. In Pakistan, where everything related to sex and abuse is brushed under the carpet, one needs to be extra careful when it comes to kids and their eccentricities. According to Sahil’s annual ‘cruel number 2015’, “a total 3,768 cases of child sexual abuse (CSA) were reported in 2015 bringing the number of abused children to 10 per day.” This figure was almost 7 percent more than the previous year and the number, unfortunately, keeps increasing.

Here are, therefore, all the not so obvious signs of child abuse that you might not notice or link to abuse but should be looking out for:

1. Zoning out, forgetfulness and not being present, mentally.

2. Hitting their dolls or other toys with rulers and random stuff.

3. Apologizing excessively even for small mistakes
These kids are mostly very well-behaved and generally liked by the people around them so they apologize more than they should when they do something even slightly wrong. This is a huge red sign.

4. Similarly, being overly aggressive during situations that are not even serious.

5. Indulging in self-harming behavior. This can include anything from head banging to burning themselves, pulling their hair out and hitting.

6. Not wanting to go to bed and complaining about terrible nightmares. They might not be being just another stubborn kid.

7. Avoiding sitting down or sitting still for longer periods. This could be a clear indication of the fact that he or she is in pain.

8. Preferring running around and fidgeting endlessly.

9. Fearing certain basic activities like bathing, tickling, playful wrestling etc.

10. Asking timidly if they “need/have to do” something for you if you act kindly to them or give them a small gift.

11. Acting overly sexual or seductive with other kids or even the adults around them.

12. Similarly, possessing knowledge of the stuff that kids of their age shouldn’t know. This can include anything from sexual acts to knowledge of drugs.

13. Drawing things that may not be considered appropriate. Keep an eye out for drawings that involve adults with mean faces, female/male genitalia, figures without any clothing etc.

14. Fearing certain objects including rulers, spoons, hangers etc.

15. Lying relentlessly about anything and everything and lying without any reason. They would even lie for things that don’t even matter.

16. Facing troubles while making friends and not being able to open up to people in general.

17. And most of all, having a fear of certain words/phrases like “tickling”, “wrestling”, “I have a surprise for you” etc.

Source: HART
Observe carefully and listen to your kids intently whenever they’ve something important to tell you because abuse can lead to much more graver consequences for the rest of their adult lives.
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