Myth vs Reality
Myth: It only happens to someone else’s child
Reality: Victims can come from any socio-economic class, sex, or religion.
Myth: Sexual abusers are dangerous, weird, or evil-looking strangers.
Reality: Most offenders are known to their victims (i.e. they are friends, relatives, neighbours, teachers etc). See statistics.
Myth: Child sexual abuse usually involves violence.
Reality: Violence is seldom used. Most offenders rely on bribery and threats rather than force, or convince the child that no one will believe her. Children are often taught to obey figures of authority (adults) without question and thus become innocent victims of sexual abuse.
Myth: Children lie about sexual abuse or imagine it happened.
Reality: It is extremely rare for a child to lie about such things. More often, a child may withdraw or minimise a previous disclosure out of panic, discomfort, or family pressure.
Myth: Child molesters are usually homosexuals
Reality: The vast majority of molesters consider themselves heterosexuals and may be in an ongoing physical relationship with an adult or adults.
Myth: If penetration did not occur then nothing really happened
Reality: Incomplete sexual assault is just as traumatic as a complete one. The feeling of powerlessness, degradation, anger, guilt, shame, and confusion is always felt.
Myth: Offenders can be trusted if they promise never to do it again
Reality: It is unlikely an offender will stop without help. Past theory held that incestuous offenders tended to restrict their abuse to the family. Current research indicates that many incestuous offenders do approach victims beyond family boundaries. Therefore, they should be made to seek professional help.
Myth: If something “like that” is going on, the mother always knows.
Reality: Many mothers have no idea, yet blame themselves for not knowing after disclosure is made. On the other hand, there are cases that the mothers are aware of the abuse but out of fear of her husband, she does not reveal the abuse.