Fact or Myth?

Facts

  • 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be the victim of sexual abuse before the age of 18
  • 90% of perpetrators are known to the victim
  • 30-40% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by a family member
  • There are over 42 million survivors of sexual assault in America

Myths

He looks normal and acts normal, so he can’t be a child molester

Most people who sexually abuse children look and seem just like everyone else. Sex offenders know about the importance of their public images and hide their abusive behaviors from the people in their lives.

Only men sexually abuse children

Although men tend to be the majority of perpetrators, studies show that women may account for 20 – 30% of cases of child sexual abuse.

Child molesters target any and all children nearby

Offenders carefully choose and groom their victims, using unique plans to victimize a particular child. Grooming is a process of obtaining a child’s friendship or trust, and in some cases, the parent’s friendship or trust.

Abused children always tell!

Children often do not tell because they don’t understand what is happening to them, they are afraid of the threats made by their abuser on the basis of them telling, or they are ashamed and do not want to disappoint their caregiver.

The victim is always a girl

An estimated 1 in 6 boys will be victims of sexual abuse, but are often taught not to show fear or vulnerability and therefore do not tell.

Child victims of sexual abuse will have physical signs of abuse

Many acts of abuse do not leave a physical trace, and if they do they heal quickly. The absence of physical evidence does not discredit a child’s disclosure of abuse. There is no medial exam that can reliably determine whether a child is being sexually abused.

Stranger Danger

The people most likely to abuse a child are the ones with the most opportunity, access and trust. 90% of all reported cases involve a perpetrator whom the child knows, such as:

  • Parents, step-parents, uncles, aunts, siblings, babysitters, tutors, and family friends
  • Those who work in schools, child care centers, youth groups, sports teams, religious organizations, and other settings

Sexual victimization as a child will inevitably result in the child growing up to become a sex offender

Childhood sexual victimization does not automatically lead to sexually aggressive behaviors. In fact, most children who were sexually victimized never perpetrate against others. Research indicates that if a child discloses an incident of abuse early and is believed and supported by other close people in their lives, they have a much higher likelihood to not become perpetrators as adults.

Child sexual abuse is a cultural or socioeconomic problem

Sexual abuse inhabits all neighborhoods, races and classes. It is not unique to any socio-economic status.

Children cannot assault other children

Children can and do assault other children. Approximately 1/3 of the caseload at the CAC of Bristol County are those of a child acting out sexually against another child.

Did You Know?

Since 2007 the CAC of BC has served over 3,200 children and families

Report Suspected Abuse

800-792-5200

Let others know that you and your child are educated about sexual abuse.