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Sexual Abuse occurs when a person forces a child to have any form of sexual contact or makes a child perform sexual acts.  Sexual abuse may involve touching private parts (clothed or unclothed), penetration using an object or body part, forced sexual acts between children, or making the child view, read or participate in pornography.  These acts are abuse even when offenders say they were gentle and did not hurt the child.          

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Leah Headings, LCSW has extensive experience working with child victims of sexual abuse.

Leah was Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeast Mississippi from 2002 to 2005. She is trained in Forensically Sensitive Play Therapy and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  She is a member of the International Association of Trauma Professionals.  

 

You may have questions that you need answered by a professional therapist. Leah is here to help you and your family.

Experienced Help for Your Child

  • Nausea/upset stomach

  • Crying

  • Changes in sleep patterns

  • Withdrawal from others

  • Clinging to parents

  • Change in school performance

  • Sexually inappropriate behavior

  • Change in appetite

Sexual abuse is overwhelming to children, especially when an adult is involved. Most children are taught to trust adults. They tend to believe what adults tell them is true rather than rely on their own feelings. Accepting your child may have been abused is very hard on a parent, too.  But there is help. Contact Child & Family Counseling of Tupelo for more information.

It's Very Important To Believe Your Child If They Report Abuse To You

Understanding Sexual Abuse

Some common symptoms and exhibited behaviors include:

  • Nightmares

  • Anger and mood changes

  • Avoidance of school/friends

  • Rebelliousness

  • Fears and Phobias

  • Attention-seeking behavior

  • Drug or alcohol use/abuse to “self-medicate”

Myths and Facts About Sexual Abuse

MYTHS

  • Child Sexual Abuse is usually committed by strangers.

  • Offenders are dirty old men.

  • Offenders are crazy, retarded, or homosexual.

  • Victims are usually sexually provocative adolescents.

  • Children often make up stories about sexual relations with adults

  • Children are rarely affected by “gentle” incest

  • If you were a victim as a child, then you will also offend.

FACTS: The Reality of the Problem

  • One out of three girls will experience some form of sexual abuse by the age of eighteen.

  • At least one out of five boys will experience some form of sexual abuse by the age of eighteen.

  • Many cases of child sexual abuse involve children under the age of five.

  • Ninety percent of child victims know their sexual offenders.

  • Sexual abuse within the family often begins in early childhood and may last several years.

  • Many children do not tell anyone about their sexual abuse.

  • Sexual offenders come from every profession and socio-economic group.  They look like any normal person.

  • Young children do not know enough about sex to describe sexual behaviors that have not occurred.

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