Q: Aren’t most offenders strangers?
- A: No. 29% of perpetrators are relatives of the victim, while 60% are
acquaintances and friends. Only 11 % of perpetrators are strangers.
Q: If sexual abuse only happens once, does it really cause any harm or damage?
- A: Sexual abuse is about power and damage to the core identity of a person. Any incidence of sexual
abuse leaves an imprint.
Q: If the abuse isn’t violent and causes physical injuries, is it really sexual abuse?
Abuse is usually coercive. In most cases, the child is engaged by means of
persuasion, bribes, and threats, rather than by physical force. A
perpetrator likes to convince the victim and others, that the child was a
willing participant. This causes many victims to experience confusion,
shame, guilt, lowered self – esteem, betrayal of trust, fear of intimate
relationships, and a distorted view of sexuality. Most victims do not have
Q:Shouldn’t victims just forget about the abuse and move on?
- A: Many victims do try to
forget the abuse. However, even if their minds are successful in forgetting,
their bodies still remember. Many of the maladaptive behaviors come from the
body’s memories. It is important for the mind to remember so that behaviors
can be adjusted.
Q: Is it true that if you have been abused, you will become an abuser?
- A:No. Less than 10 % became abusive. Actually, the survivor finds
herself in relationships that leave themselves and their children vulnerable
to abuse by others.
Q: Don’t some children make up stories for attention or revenge?
- A: Children rarely lie about
sexual abuse. Unless a child has been exposed to some form of sex, they
don’t understand what sex is to be able to report it. Older children are
often too embarrassed or frightened to talk about the abuse, let alone make
up false reports.
Q:Isn’t it possible that children can provoke sexual abuse by their seductive or attention-seeking behaviors?
- A: Responsibility for the act lies solely with the offender.
Children seek affection from adults, not
sex. Sexual abuse exploits a child, developmentally incapable of
understanding or resisting, often in a relationship of emotional dependence
on the adult.
Q:Does the “non-offending” parent always know about the abuse?
- A: Some “non-offending”
parents may know about the abuse. However, the majority of them do not. The
perpetrator relies on keeping the behavior a secret. What is important is
the reaction once the abuse is exposed.
Q: Do all victims react to the abuse by developing addictions or promiscuous behavior?
- A: No. It is just as likely that a victim may become a “people pleaser” or is unable to
draw appropriate boundaries within a relationship. Some victims may withdraw
and isolate. These victims still have lowered self esteem, fears and other
maladaptive behaviors that set them up for abuse within relationships.
Remember, the abuse damaged their sense of worth and value. It is just as
difficult for a “people pleaser” to overcome the impact of the abuse as it
is for a victim who acts out.
Q: If a teen-ager has sex with an adult, isn’t that consensual and not abuse?
- A: No. The adult always has
a responsibility to protect the child, whether the child is 5 or 15. An
adult has the responsibility to teach the teen what is appropriate and
inappropriate, not use the teen’s behavior as an excuse to have sex with him
or her. It is interesting that in all other crimes, the perpetrator is not
let off the hook because the victim “consented”. The idea of blaming the
teen victim sends the message that they have more authority and control over
adult behavior than adults themselves have. Which in turn gives adults
permission to continue to rape our adolescents.
Note this: When a victim is under 13 years of age, it is considered
“abuse” and the perpetrator held responsible for his or her behavior. When
the victim is over 20 years of age it is considered “sexual harassment”
and/or “rape”. But when a victim is between 13-19 years of age it is
considered “consensual” and the victim labeled unruly and bad.