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Sexual Abuse Myths

Myth: Sexual assault against children does not happen very often.

Fact: While accurate statistics are difficult to obtain due to a large percentage of abuse never being reported, it is estimated that as many as 500,000 children are sexually assaulted in the U.S. each year.

Myth: Sexual assault is usually committed by a stranger, and teaching children about “stranger danger” is the most important part of sexual abuse prevention.

Fact: 90% of abuse is committed by someone the victim already knows, and 30% of perpetrators are members of the victim’s own family.

Myth: Most sex offenders are creepy old men.

Fact: Childhood sexual abuse does not discriminate. It is committed by offenders of all ages, genders and races.


Myth: Sexual abuse only happens in poor communities.

Fact: Sexual abuse occurs in all socioeconomic classes. In fact, offenders who are well-educated, well-dressed, well-spoken, etc. can often become the worst offenders because don’t fit the typical profile portrayed in modern media and culture.

Myth: It is harmful to teach children about sexual abuse and body safety.

Fact: Failing to teach children the appropriate names for body parts, what is appropriate and inappropriate touch, and other fundamentals about sexual abuse prevention leaves them susceptible to being abused.

Myth: Many children lie about being sexually abused.

Fact: False accusations of sexual abuse by children and teens are rare, occurring in less than 2% of all cases.

Myth: If a child has been abused there will be physical evidence.

Fact: Physical/medical evidence of abuse is only found in about 5% of cases.

Myth: Sexual abuse only happens to girls.

Fact: While girls are abused about twice as often as boys, statistics show that 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old

Myth: Victims of sexual abuse frequently become abusers themselves.

Fact: While it is believed that around 30% of sexual abuse victims do commit abuse themselves, the key to preventing this from happening is victims experiencing healing from the trauma of their own abuse.

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