When protecting a child from sexual assault, it is important for us to note the following myths and facts –
Myth – Strangers are the main culprit
Fact – In 70% of cases in Malaysia, the offender is a member of the child’s immediate family or someone the child knows and trusts – a parent, relative, older friend or neighbour.
Myth – The victim is usual a teenage girl
Fact – Girls and boys of all ages are sexually assaulted and victims are sometimes young children or babies.
Myth – Child sexual assault occurs only in poor and “difficult” families
Fact – Child sexual assault occurs in all kinds of families: rich or poor, small or large, well educated or not.
Myth – Children lie about sexual assault or imagine it is happening
Fact – Children rarely lie about or imagine sexual assault.
Myth – If a child is sexually assaulted it usually happens only once
Fact – The abuser is often a person who can easily arrange to be alone with the child, as such it is more common for sexual assault to be repeated. In some cases it can go on for years.
Myth – Sexual assault of children usually involves violence
Fact – Sexual assault of children seldom involves violence because offenders known to a child do not usually need to use force. Instead they use promises, threats and bribes and take advantage of the fact that the child is powerless.