What if a child is making up the abuse?
Children rarely lie about abuse. In fact, less than 10% of child abuse allegations are false and many of those are first fabricated by adults, not children. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of true allegations should urge you to always believe a child if they disclose abuse and follow through with the next step of reporting.
Does childhood sexual abuse effect the victim's sexual orientation?
There is no evidence that concludes that the sexual abuse of a child is directly correlated to whether the identify themselves as homosexual, heterosexual, bi-sexual, or pansexual. However, childhood sexual abuse can rob a person's natural right to discover their own sexuality in their own time if the abuser regardless of their orientation or gender identity spoke manipulative message that confused the child about their personal sexual identity.
If abused, does a child have a chance at becoming a function, contributing member of society?
Many survivors of child abuse report that the emotional damage from abuse brings more suffering than the abuse itself. Common mental health issues that plague survivors include: depression, distorted body image, low self-esteem, poor social skills, anger and hostility, and inability to trust. However, a survivor of child abuse can most certainly lead a fulfilling and rewarding life. With treatment and a strong support system, survivors can stop feeling ashamed, responsible, angry, and objectified. Seeking help from mental health professionals and having a supportive nurturing family or spouse is vital to a survivor's success.
If a child is abused, will they grow up to be an abuser?
It is a common, yet inaccurate assumption that a child abuse survivor will always grow up to become an abuser. There are numerous individuals who were not abused as children who become abusive adults, as well as many individuals who have been abused as children and do not subsequently abuse children.
Are most abused children from low-income families/communities?
Child abuse and neglect occurs across all socio-economic, educational, religious, cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. Therefore, there is no single known cause e of child maltreatment or any one "type" of family in which the children are more likely to be victims of abuse and neglect. Research has recognized a number of risk factors that are commonly associated with child maltreatment including: the child is disabled/chronically ill/perceived as different, family dysfunction, substance abuse by family members, caregiver has a physical or mental health problem, young and/or single parents, and domestic violence. Children within families and environment's in which these factors exist have a higher probability of experiencing maltreatment. However, just because these factors may be present among a family or in a community does not mean that child abuse and neglect will always result. The factors that may contribute to maltreatment in one family may not result in child abuse and neglect in another family.
How is it possible for a sexual predator to convince a child to engage in inappropriate acts and never tell someone?
Sexual abuse is almost always premeditated. A sexual predator will first devise a plan to groom the child and their family. Grooming is a form of manipulation whereby the predator infiltrates the community and/or family, building a trusting relationship that will eventually allow the predator one-on-one access to a child. Because they have convinced even the protective adults around them that they truly care About children, a predator is typically the last person anyone would think would do something inappropriate to a child. These positions of trust that allow a predator easy access to children include, but are not limited to: family members, neighbors, babysitters, teachers/coaches, church staff/volunteers, camp staff/volunteers. In more than 90% of sexual abuse cases, the child knows and trusts their abuser. This makes it difficult for a child to escape abuse or feel comfortable telling someone about the abuse. This may be because the child sees that their parents like and trust the perpetrator.
How can I tell if a child is being groomed for abuse?
It is important to recognize when grooming may be occurring. In the beginning of the grooming process the predator is working to form a special bond with the child. Some early signs of grooming to look for include: spending time doing activities the child enjoys, buying the child gifts or giving money, treating the child as more special than others, tickling/wrestling/hugging, and finding excuses to have one-on-one time with the child. These tactics create a sense of loyalty from the child to the predator, thus making it even more difficult for a child to tell someone when the predator crosses the line of appropriate behavior. More serious signs of grooming include: petting/stroking/groping above or under clothing, talking about sexual activity with the child, viewing the child nude or exposing the child to nudity, showing the child pornography (adult and/or child), masturbating in front of the child, or teaching the child how to masturbate. Many times, a predator will bring down the defenses of a child by explaining they are merely playing a "game" or that they are doing is "normal" or "special." A child is typically confused by the inappropriate behavior but feels a sense of loyalty to the predator, internalizes the inappropriate acts as their own fault, feel too embarrassed to talk about it, or doesn't think anyone will believe them if they tell. Once a family and child are groomed it makes the possibility of a child telling someone about abuse minimal. As protective adults, we must be aware of grooming behaviors.