When New Mexico residents notice that something just is not quite right with a family member, they may try to get that person to open up and talk about what is going on. This may not be difficult when the problem is considered minor, but when it is something major like sexual abuse, they may need to look for other signs before approaching him or her. It may be helpful to better understand what signs to look for if one family member suspects another is silently suffering through this trauma.

Often, a victim will appear uncomfortable if not terrified to be around a certain person or even in a certain place. His or her anxiety level may rise significantly under these circumstances. In some cases, another person will need to be paying attention in order to notice since fear, shame and other emotions may cause the victim to do his or her best to hide any anxiety.

A person who has been sexually abused often has nightmares about the experience and/or goes through a change in sleep patterns. He or she may actively avoid sleeping because of disturbing dreams. Another clue would be if a person who had a healthy sense of self suddenly exhibits signs of low self-esteem, it could result from the attack. Sadness, depression and self-harm are often signs that something is very wrong.

It may not be easy to get a family member to open up about sexual abuse. However, if a family member suspects him or her of being a victim of such a heinous crime and assault, it may be worthwhile to observe for a bit to see whether any of the above signs are present. Coming forward is not easy to do, but it is often the start of the healing process, along with holding the perpetrator accountable for his or her actions.