Here are some common myths about sexual abuse and information to help you understand the facts.
The myth is only girls are sexually abused.
The fact is that many sexually abused children are boys, but these abuses are not reported as often.
The myth is that strangers are the most frequent perpetrators of sexual abuse.
The fact is that 80% of molested children are abused by a person they KNOW. About 51% of these perpetrators are NATURAL PARENTS.
The myth is that most cases of sexual abuse are reported.
The fact is that only 1 in 10 to 1 in 20 incidents are reported, and even fewer are reported if the perpetrator is a relative.
The myth is that perpetrators are usually dirty, old, single, homosexual men.
The fact is that around 97% of reported perpetrators are men. The typical offender is married, heterosexual, and employed. It is almost impossible to identify an abuser by appearance.
The myth is that the physical injury of the child is the main focus of treatment.
The fact is that the greatest injury in an abuse may be long term emotional and psychosocial damage. Only about 5% of sexual abuse cases present medical findings. That is because abuse generally consists of exposing, stroking or touching, or mutual masturbation which is often disguised as a game.
The myth is that males cannot control sexual feelings or behaviors.
The fact is that as with any impulse, or urge, it often takes self-discipline andsupport to keep from acting on feelings.
The myth is that female children can “seduce” adult males.
The fact is that an adult is responsible for his actions, and is aware of consequences for his behavior.
Victim Assistance Coordinator
Diocese of Orlando
50 E. Robinson Street
Orlando, Florida 32801