Myths and Facts of Child Sexual Abuse

Myths of Childhood Abuse:

“Sex offenders are strangers” – they’re not – they’re someone you know, who has carefully planned and ‘groomed’ you and your child. And sometimes they are a brother, sister or cousin too – not just a stepfather, grandfather or uncle.

“Young children (e.g. – under 5) will forget what happened to them” as their memories are unreliable. Not so – memory kind is different at different life stages and child testimony reflects this.

“All sex offenders’ are violent when they offend against a child”not true – most don’t like to leave scars or forensic evidence that they’ve assaulted a child as they are more likely to be caught.

“Women don’t sexually offend against children”yes they do. In much fewer cases, but with young children too, not just the teenage boys in the media.

“Only certain kinds of children are vulnerable”partly true – offenders look for needy children. But, depending upon whether intrafamilial or extrafamilial, male and female children are both at risk.

“Offenders only target certain kinds of children”partly true – some offenders are ‘preferential’ to age, gender, looks or body size, but others are ‘opportunistic’.

“Offenders are dirty old men” – some may be, but by then, they’ve had a long career of offending. Offenders tend to first offend in adolescence and then continue in various forms and environments.

“Offenders are uneducated or have low intelligence” – not true – most are actually very clever given the detailed plans they make to groom and the excuses they can come up with to rationalise offending.

“Mothers are always to blame” because most of them really knew deep down what was going on – they must have. Most don’t.

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