Sexual Abuse: Knowing About Sex at Too Young an Age

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Topic Overview

If you want to save this information but don't think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number.

Be careful online too. Your online activity may be seen by others. Do not use your personal computer or device to read about this topic. Use a safe computer such as one at work, a friend's house, or a library.

A child may have knowledge of sex that isn't appropriate for the child's age. This may be expressed by the amount of detail a child gives about sexual acts that should not be familiar to him or her. For example, a 3-year-old child should not be able to describe in detail what happens during sexual intercourse. Young children who have firsthand knowledge of sexual acts likely have been sexually abused or have been exposed to sexual activity. This exposure can be an enticed or forced witnessing of sexual behavior. It may happen in person or through media sources, such as pornographic videos.

When a young child acts in a way that shows an awareness of sexuality or asks questions about sex that are far too advanced for his or her age, consider it a warning sign of sexual abuse.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics

Current as ofApril 24, 2015

Current as of: April 24, 2015