Teens and Sexual Assault: What Are the Warning Signs?

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) shares that those aged between 12 and 34 are at the highest risk for crimes of sexual violence. They also share that females aged 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of these crimes.

Image provided by RAINN.

Signs That a Teen May Have Been Sexually Abused

Information provided by RAINN.

If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. It’s better to ask and be wrong than to let a teen grapple with sexual assault.

  • Unusual weight gain or weight loss
  • Unhealthy eating patterns, like a loss of appetite or excessive eating
  • Signs of physical abuse, such as bruises
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or other genital infections
  • Signs of depression, such as persistent sadness, lack of energy, changes in sleep or appetite, withdrawing from normal activities, or feeling “down”
  • Anxiety or worry
  • Falling grades
  • Changes in self-care, such as paying less attention to hygiene, appearance, or fashion than they usually do
  • Self-harming behavior
  • Expressing thoughts about suicide or suicide behavior
  • Drinking or drug use

Warning Signs That a Teen Might Be in an Abusive Relationship

Information provided by RAINN.

From the outside looking into a relationship, you have a better chance at noticing warning signs that someone may be in abusive relationship or at risk for sexual assault.

  • Tries to get them to engage in sexual activity that they aren’t ready for
  • Sexually assaults them or coerces them into unwanted sexual activity
  • Refuses to use contraception or protection against STIs during sexual activity
  • Hits them or physically harms them in any way
  • Doesn’t want them spending time with friends or family
  • Makes threats or controls their actions
  • Uses drugs or alcohol to create situations where their judgment is impaired or compromises their ability to say “yes” or “no”

Please know that you are not alone. If you suspect sexual abuse, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

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