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Myths

Sexual abuse knows no societal boundaries, it does not discriminate against anyone based on class, societal social status, gender, culture or creed. Society’s naïve beliefs have hindered people from receiving help, until now. There are many myths associated with this type of abuse and these myths differ by gender. These myths prevent many survivors from bringing their abuse to light.

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MYTHS ABOUT MALE SEXUAL ABUSE

• If the perpetrator was male, we can assume he is a homosexual.

• If a male sexually abuses a boy, he is or will become a homosexual.

• Most victims of sexual abuse become sexual abusers.

• If a female sexually abuses a boy, it is a form of initiation, and he should consider himself fortunate.

• All offenders are male, and all victims are female

• If the victim experiences sexual arousal or orgasm, this means he was a willing participant who enjoyed the abuse.

• Boys are less traumatized by sexual abuse than girls.

• People who have been sexually abused will be damaged forever.

• Boys and men cannot be victims.

• Children are most likely to be abused by strangers.

• Sexual abuse only happens to a certain segment of people in our society.

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MYTHS ABOUT FEMALE SEXUAL ABUSE

• If a female has a crush on the male who sexually assaults her, she may be blamed for seducing him rather than the blame being placed where it belongs: on the offender.

• As with boys, if the girl’s body has responded sexually, she feels she is somehow responsible for the sexual abuse. If the girl doesn’t fight her abuser, she may be viewed as “liking it”.

• If a girl dresses in a provocative way, she may be seen as “asking for it”.

• If a girl receives money for sex, she is less likely to be perceived as a victim.

• If a girl is well endowed, if she is voluptuous, if her body looks more mature than her years, or if she acts more mature than her age, society may excuse the offender’s behavior, rather than defending the girl as having been sexually abused.

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Regardless of how a child or adolescent responds to sexual advances, sexual abuse is never the child’s fault.

It’s time to stop blaming the victim.

The blame and the responsibility lie entirely with the offender.

There is help and there is hope.

*Excerpts taken from The Gatehouse Adult Support Group Program Manual

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