Myths About Child Sexual Assault?

There are many myths about child sexual assault, but for the purpose of this page I have only been able to gain permission to reproduce three. There are links to more below.

Myth 1: Children are sexy.

This myth says that children are sexy and therefore their sexiness encourages people to sexually abuse them. This suggests that men cannot control themselves when faced with an attractive young child.

Fact: We know that many children who are abused are very young - including babies and toddlers. Children of all ages - both boys and girls are sexually abused. A child's appearance can never excuse an adult's abusive acts.

Myth 2: Children don't mind the abuse too much or they would not let it go on for so long.

Some people say that children are sexually abused for many years without telling anyone; therefore, it can not be as bad as people make out.

Fact: In reality, children are often very frightened and intimidated by the person abusing them, thus making it almost impossible for them to tell anybody. They may also feel guilty about what is happening to them. Common threats used by abusers include, if you tell, I'll go to jail and if you tell I will be very angry and never see you again.

Children often do let others know that something is wrong by their behaviour. Behaviour may change considerably because of sexual abuse. For example, they may become more defiant or aggressive. Alternatively, they may become passive and withdrawn. In each case, the behaviour is different from how the child usually behaves.

Myth 3: Sexual abuse only happens to children who ask for it.

The idea that certain children ask to be sexually abused is a myth. People sometimes say that children who run away, who cause their parents trouble - rough kids or disobedient children - are asking for trouble.

Fact: What we now know about child sexual abuse is that children who show this type of behaviour are probably doing it because they have been abused, either sexually or in some other way. Also, we know that sexual abusers carefully choose the child they abuse. They may look for a child who is seeking attention from adults; a child who is very obedient and unlikely to tell anyone; or a child who may not be believed if they do tell.

To read more myths about child sexual assault go to the links below:-

Text © SECASA 2011-2012, Myths that blame the child,, Last updated: 9 March, 2012; Viewed 25 November, 2012. Information used with permission.

© S. D. Goeldner, 2012. Last updated June, 2016.

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