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: 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.