The Myths Associated with Child Sexual Assault

MYTH: Children are usually molested by strangers.
FACT: 85% of children are molested by someone they know. The people most likely to molest children are those who have the most opportunity and access to them.

MYTH: Incest only happens in lower class and/or rural families.
FACT: Incest plays no favorites. Incest crosses all social-economic, race, and class barriers. It happens in both rural and urban centers.

MYTH: Only young girls are the victims of child abuse or incest.
FACT: Young boys are as vulnerable to sexual exploitation as are girls. Though reported cases indicate a higher percentage of girls, this can be attributed to the idea that males are expected to take care of themselves and, as a result, often do not deal with the problem by talking about it.

MYTH: It is only homosexuals who abuse children of their own sex.
FACT: Abuse is a crime of control, not of sex. Victims are chosen because of easy access, not because of gender. Statistics show abuse of male children by males is most often perpetrated by heterosexual men or by pedophiles, rarely by homosexuals.

MYTH: Child sexual abuse is a family problem, not a concern for outsiders.
FACT: We all pay the social price. 70% of runaway girls and boys, 70% of adolescent drug addicts and 90% of young prostitutes were the victims of sexual abuse.

MYTH: The crisis of disclosure is more devastating than the abuse itself.
FACT: Disclosure brings the pain and suffering out into the open; it does not create it. Work with victims who did not disclose the abuse or were not believed can reveal the burden and devastation that the child bears alone. Only disclosure will end the abuse and make the healing possible.

MYTH: Children lie about incest.
FACT: Children do not have the cognitive capabilities to talk about incest unless they've experienced it. If children lie about sexual abuse, it is often to say that it did not occur to protect the offender and/or the family unit.


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