Did You Know?
What people think…Child abuse happens only with strangers.
FACT: in over 90% of reported child abuse cases, children are abused by someone they know, love and trust. In fact, 39% of all perpetrators are family members.
What people think…Children usually tell someone that they are being abused.
FACT: Most children DO NOT tell. Abusers can be very effective in making children too fearful to talk about what is going on. Often children do not have the words to use to let someone know what is happening to them.
What people think…Only men abuse children.
FACT: Male perpetrators tend to be the majority of reported cases of abuse, however, women are also capable of child sexual abuse. Reports of female perpetrators are on the rise, with both male and female children.
What people think…Children make these types of things up for attention.
FACT: Children very rarely make false accusations about being sexually abused. Most victims are very reluctant to disclose abuse; they feel shame, and blame themselves for the abuse, often because the offender is someone they care about. It is estimated that only 4-8% of child sexual abuse reports are fabricated.
What people think….A medical evaluation will prove is a child has been sexually abused.
FACT: The vast majority of child victims of sexual abuse do not have medical findings that substantiate sexual abuse. Many acts leave no physical trace. Injuries resulting from sexual abuse tent to heal quickly, and in most instances, exams of child victims do not take place on the same day as the alleged act of abuse due to delayed disclosure.
What people think…Only girls are abused.
FACT: Boys may be victims of abuse. 1 in 10 children will suffer some form of sexual abuse before their 18th birthday. Often sexual abuse of male victims is underreported due to social and cultural attitudes: boys are taught to not let others see vulnerability. Boys are aware at an early age of the social stigma attached to sexual assault and fear appearing weak to others. All of these attitudes make male child victims far less likely to tell of their abuse.
What people think….Talking to children about sexual abuse will simply frighten them.
FACT: It is important for children to develop basic safety skills in a way that is helpful rather than frightening. Children should learn the proper names for their body parts, including their genitals. Children should know they have permission to refuse unwanted touching from adults and other children.