Every now and then, a headline highlighting child sexual abuse flashes and we as humanity sink deeper into a dark abyss of shame and horror. We mourn, we lament, we offer support , opinions, our pearls of wisdom, shudder to think if it could be…no, no, it can’t be us, we are safe . No!, none of us are safe until we and are children are equipped with the right knowledge, solid support circle and the power to stand up and say no!
Knowledge is power so this post will serve to dispel myths surrounding sexual abuse. We need to be vigilant, pro-active and equipped with the right information, hopefully be able to prevent further such cases.
MYTHS & FACTS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE:
Myth: Normal appearing, well-educated, well-to-do/middle class people do not molest.
Fact: Dr Anne Salter, a leading expert in sex offenders found a regular pattern where molesters often placed themselves in positions that required close proximities to children while maintaining a facade of righteousness and sincerity.
Myth: Abusers abuse indriscrimnately
Fact: A child abuser will not abuse every child they come in contact with. Research confirms that abusers carefully select and gradually “groom” their victims which to manipulate them into submission. They often target children who face family issues, are lonely, lack confidence or are pretty and “provocatively dressed”.
Myth: Abused children immediately inform their parents
Fact: Statistics suggest that majority of children never disclose to anyone; for fear of rejection or because are unable to express the abuse they go through. The younger the age, the closer the relation to abuse and repeated offenses often lead to delayed disclosure.
According to a study, abusers often seek to make the victims feel as though they “ invited” the abuse, convincing the child that they are the guilty party. This sense of guilt and complicity along with fear of retribution silence the children.
Myth: Abused children show physical signs of violence
Fact: Research shows that abnormal genital findings are rare even in proven cases of child sexual abuse. Some acts like oral sex and fondling leave no physical traces. Even in penetrative sex, injuries heal quicker if the child is young and abnormal genital findings are not uncommon especially if checked 48 hours after abuse.
Myth: Children tend to exaggerate, embellish or make up stories of sexual abuse.
Fact: Research has proven that children often deny or minimize what has occured.
Myth: All child sexual abuse victims are females
Fact: Studies indicate that one in three females under the age of 18 and one in four males under the age of 18 are child sexual abuse victims.
Myth: If the children did not want it, they can say, STOP!
Fact: Children generally do not question the behavior of adults, having been taught to obey them. They are coerced by bribes, threats and use of a position of authority.
Myth: Non-violent sexual behavior between a child and adult is not damaging to the child.
Fact: Nearly all victims will experience confusion, shame, guilt, anger, and a poor self-image. Child sexual abuse can result in long-term relationship problems and be perpetuated from generation to generation. Dr. Nicholas Groth, who has worked extensively with sexual offenders, reports that 60 percent of convicted sexual offenders have reported histories of child sexual abuse victimization.
Be aware and spread awareness; share this as much as possible because only awareness is the first step to prevention.