Vulnerability Among Young Girls

images (1)


When girls reach puberty, they experience quite rapid sexual, physical and emotional changes over which they have no control. They can’t hide their developing breasts or outcrop it. Girls experienced sexual abuse more than three times the rate that boys did (Sedlak & Broadhurst, 1996)

People may be alert to the vulnerability of girls, but find it difficult to know how to be supportive and empowering. Young girls are often drawn towards intense friendships, which can be enabling but can at the same time mask an underlying difficulty with being separate from the family and managing independently. In some school environments, girls still feel like second class citizens and are being ‘put down’ or belittled. Girls are sexually vulnerable and may be susceptible to pressures of having sex and then get pregnant before they are emotionally ready.  A teenage girl may see getting pregnant as the only gateway to the adult world.

Signs that a young girl a is sexually exploited

The following list of indicators is not exhaustive or definitive but it does highlight common signs which can assist professionals in identifying young girls who may be victims of sexual exploitation. Signs include:

  • Underage Sexual Activity
  • Inappropriate sexual or sexualized behavior
  • Repeat sexually transmitted infections
  • Repeated pregnancy, abortions, miscarriage
  • Receiving unexplained gifts or gifts from unknown sources
  • Having unaffordable new things (clothes, mobile) changes in the way they dress
  • Going to hotels or other unusual locations to meet friends
  • Seen at known places of concern
  • Moving around the country, appearing in new towns or cities, not knowing where they are
  • Getting in/out of different cars driven by unknown adults
  • Contact with known perpetrators
  • Involved in abusive relationships, intimidated and fearful of certain people or situations
  • Hanging out with groups of older people, or anti-social groups, or with other vulnerable peers
  • Associating with other young people involved in sexual exploitation
  • Recruiting other young people to exploitative situations
  • Truancy, exclusion, disengagement with school, opting out of education altogether
  • Unexplained changes in behavior or personality (chaotic, aggressive, sexual)
  • Mood swings, volatile behavior, emotional distress
  • Self-harming, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, overdosing, eating disorders
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Injuries from physical assault, physical restraint, sexual assault. (

For Help and Counseling, Visit our office or contact us at:

Action Health Incorporated

17 Lawal Street, Off Oweh Street, Jibowu

Lagos Nigeria.

Tel: +234-1-7743745, +234-8123445837, 8123445822



Twitter: @actionhealthinc


Growing Up Magazine:






Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.