Child Sexual Abuse

Myths & Facts

Know the myths and facts about child sexual abuse.

Debunking Myths About Child Sexual Abuse

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. friends, relatives, neighbours, teachers etc.)

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 questioning and thus become innocent victim 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 minimize 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.

Myth: If penetration did not occur, then nothing really happened.
Reality: Incomplete sexual assault is just as traumatic as a complete one. The child feels powerlessness, degradation, anger, guilt, shame, and confusion.

Myth: Offenders can be trusted if they promise never to do it again.
Reality: The offender won’t stop unless he gets help. Incestuous offenders tended to restrict their abuse to the family but some do seek victims outside of their family. They should be forced to get 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.

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