Myth vs. Reality (Child Sexual Abuse)

cross Myth: It only happens to someone else’s child.
tick Reality: Victims can come from any socio-economic class, sex, or religion

cross Myth: Sexual abusers are dangerous, weird, or evil-looking strangers.
tick Reality: Most offenders are known to their victims (i.e. friends, relatives, neighbours, teachers etc.)

cross Myth: Child sexual abuse usually involves violence.
tick 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.

cross Myth: Children lie about sexual abuse or imagine it happened.
tick 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.

cross Myth: Child molesters are usually homosexuals.
tick Reality: The vast majority of molesters consider themselves heterosexuals and may be in an ongoing physical relation with an adult or adults.

cross Myth: If penetration did not occur, then nothing really happened.
tick 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.

cross Myth: Offenders can be trusted if they promise never to do it again.
tick 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.

cross Myth: If something “like that” is going on, the mother always knows.
tick 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.