Check out the reality behind the myth:
Children are not always innocent. In some cases of child sexual abuse the child may co-operate in the activity, and in some cases assume an active role in initiating the relationship.
This myth is based on the Freudian concept that children are “seductive”. Sometimes children, to gain love or attention, may appear to initiate the relationship. In a child’s world, adults control most of the resources and know all of the answers. The abusers enforce secrecy and if they threaten the child or someone they love, the child may not question the abuser's power to carry out the threat and so comply with any abuse.
Sexual involvement with adults does children good. The experience probably enriches the lives of children and prepares them for future relationships.
Children cannot understand adult-child sexual contact or predict the consequences because of their emotional immaturity.
Children are damaged by sexual abuse whoever the perpetrator is.
Child sexual abuse occurs in all classes and every culture.
Child sexual abuse is the consequence of family dysfunction. That is, the family does not function properly because one or more of the family members do not perform their natural role.
This is a way of placing the blame on the family, rather than on the perpetrator of the crime. Frequently the blame is put on the mother, which may inhibit the child from seeking the mother’s help.
Child sexual abuse is cyclical. That is, incest is normal in some families and passes from generation to generation.
This is an attempt to normalise the crime of sexual violence against children.
There is little evidence that many children deliberately make false allegations or misinterpret appropriate adult-child contact as sexual abuse. In the small number where children appear to have made false allegations, it has usually been the result of manipulation by an adult.
Counselling women who claim they were sexually abused as children may do harm as it reawakens old memories/suffering and may lead the woman to “remember” things that did not occur.
Women come for counselling as a result of having remembered incidents in their childhood. Person Centred Counselling is a method of listening to what the person is saying, not of suggesting false memories. Once counselling has begun, the woman is likely to remember incidents and feelings that she had previously “buried” as a coping strategy. The idea of “False Memory Syndrome” denies the reality that many children are abused and detracts attention from that reality. This prevents many children and women being heard and supported.
This is perhaps the most damaging myth of all for survivors of childhood sexual abuse who fear that they will harm their own children. The reality is that someone who has been sexually abused as a child is no more or less likely to go on to abuse children as an adult. In fact one piece of Canadian research showed that 40% of convicted child molesters were abused as children themselves...that’s 60% who were not!