top of page

Signs that a teen may have been sexually abused

Remind the teen that if they come to you, you will believe them—and that if something happened, it is not their fault.

  • Unusual weight gain or weight loss

  • Unhealthy eating patterns, like a loss of appetite or excessive eating

  • Signs of physical abuse

  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) 

  • Signs of depression, such as persistent sadness, lack of energy, changes in sleep or appetite, withdrawing from normal activities, or feeling “down”

  • Anxiety 

  • 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 may be in an abusive relationship

  • 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 judgement is impaired or compromises their ability to say "yes" or "no"

Taking action isn’t easy, but it’s important

Open communication can be a challenge with teens, but it’s an important part of keeping them safe. As teens become more independent and spend more time with friends and other activities, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open and let your teen know they can trust you. Learn more about talking to kids and teens about sexual assault.

Remember, you are not alone. If you suspect sexual abuse you can talk to someone who is trained to help. 

bottom of page