Myth vs Fact

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Myth versus Fact

  • Myth: Juvenile sex offenders are likely to become adult sex offenders.
    Fact: Research shows that only 5-15% of treated juvenile sex offenders will sexually re-offend.

  • Myth: Youth who sexually offend are typically victims of sexual abuse.
    Fact: Most sex offenders were not sexually assaulted as children and most children who are sexually assaulted do not sexually assault others.

  • Myth: Youth who offend are bad people and just want to hurt others.
    Fact: Youth who have sexually offended made a very poor choice that does not define them. Through treatment they can live to be successful.

  • Myth: Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers.
    Fact: Most sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim or the victim's family, regardless of whether the victim is a child or an adult.

  • Myth: Sexual offense rates are higher than ever and continue to climb.
    Fact: Despite the increase in publicity about sexual crimes, the actual rate of reported sexual assault has decreased slightly in recent years.

  • Myth: All sex offenders are male.
    Fact: The vast majority of sex offenders are male. However, females also commit sexual crimes.

  • Myth: The majority of sexual offenders are caught, convicted, and in prison.
    Fact: Only a fraction of those who commit sexual assault are apprehended and convicted for their crimes. Most convicted sex offenders eventually are released to the community under probation or parole supervision.

  • Myth: Most sex offenders reoffend.
    Fact: Reconviction data suggest that this is not the case. Further, reoffense rates vary among different types of sex offenders and are related to specific characteristics of the offender and the offense.

  • Myth: Children who are sexually assaulted will sexually assault others when they grow up.
    Fact: Most sex offenders were not sexually assaulted as children and most children who are sexually assaulted do not sexually assault others.

  • Myth: Youths do not commit sex offenses.
    Fact: Adolescents are responsible for a significant number of rape and child molestation cases each year.

  • Myth: Treatment for sex offenders is ineffective.
    Fact: Treatment programs can contribute to community safety because those who attend and cooperate with program conditions are less likely to re-offend than those who reject intervention.

  • Myth: The cost of treating and managing sex offenders in the community is too high they belong behind bars.
    Fact: One year of intensive supervision and treatment in the community can range in cost between $5,000 and $15,000 per offender, depending on treatment modality. The average cost for incarcerating an offender is significantly higher, approximately $22,000 per year, excluding treatment costs.

  • Myth: The majority of sex crimes are reported.
    Fact: Most sex crimes are not reported and, therfore, are not presecuted.

  • Myth: All sex offenders are child molesters and all child molesters are predators.
    Fact: The FBI-UCR, National Crime Victimization Survey reveals that only 23% of sex crimes are against someone under 18; and the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that predators represent around three percent of all sex offenders and child killers are less than one percent of all offenders.

  • Myth: Sex offenders are predominantly pedophiles.
    Fact: Pedophiles are sexually fixated on underage individuals, and the term pedophile refers to a sexual orientation towards children pre-puberty and ephebophile is attracted to children post-puberty. Only 3-5% of all sex offenders can be classified as pedophiles.

  • Myth: Men who molest boys are homosexuals or bisexual.
    Fact According to the October 5, 2006 issue of Pediatrics, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 98% of molested males and 99.6% of molested girls are victims of heterosexuals.

  • Myth: Sex offenses are increasing in the United States.
    Fact: Sexual crimes have decreased over time. The report of adult rape has declined 69% from 1993 through 2005. Substantiated sex crimes against children fell 40% between 1992 and 2000.

  • Myth: Most sexual assaults are committed by someone of a different race as the victim.
    Fact: Most sexual assaults are committed by someone of the same race as the victim. An exception to this is that people who commit sexual assault against Native Americans are usually not Native American.

  • Myth: Most child sexual abusers use physical force or threat to gain compliance from their victims.
    Fact: In the majority of cases, abusers gain access to their victims through deception and enticement, seldom using force. Abuse typically occurs within a long-term, ongoing relationship between the offender and victim and escalates over time.

  • Myth: Most child sexual abusers find their victims by frequenting such places as schoolyards and playgrounds.
    Fact: Most child sexual abusers offend against children whom they know and with whom they have established a relationship.

  • Myth: Only men commit sexual assault.
    Fact: While most sex offenders are male, sometimes sex offenses are committed by female offenders.

  • Myth: If a child does not tell anyone about the abuse, it is because he or she must have consented to it.
    Fact: Children often do not tell for a variety of reasons including the offender's threats to hurt or kill someone the victim loves, as well as shame, embarrassment, wanting to protect the offender, feelings for the offender, fear of being held responsible or being punished, fear of being disbelieved, and fear of losing the offender who may be very important to the child or the child's family.

  • Myth: Sexual gratification is often the primary motivation for a sexual offender.
    Fact: While some offenders do seek sexual gratification from the act, sexual gratification is often not a primary motivation for a rape offender. Power, control, and anger are more likely to be the primary motivators.

  • Myth: Victims of sexual assault often share some blame for the assault.
    Fact: Adult and child victims of sexual abuse are never to blame for the assault, regardless of their behavior. Because of the age difference, children are unable to legally consent to sexual acts. They are often made to feel like willing participants, which further contributes to their shame and guilt.

  • Myth: If a victim does not say "no" or does not "fight back," it is not sexual assault.
    Fact: Sexual assault victims may not say "no" or not fight back for a variety of reasons including fear and confusion. Rape victims often report being "frozen" by fear during the assault, making them unable to fight back; other victims may not actively resist for fear of angering the assailant and causing him or her to use more force in the assault. Pressure to be liked and not be talked about negatively by a peer or relative will sometimes cause adolescents or children to avoid fighting back or actively resisting.

  • Myth: Child molesters spontaneously attack when they see a vulnerable potential victim.
    Fact: Many child molesters and pedophiles spend month and even years positioning themselves into a place of authority and trust within the community, and can spend a long time grooming one child before they ever sexually offend.

  • Myth: People with a prior sex offense conviction pose the most danger to our children.
    Fact: The significant majority of sex offenses are not committed by people with a prior sex offense conviction, but instead by people who have never before been convicted of a crime.

  • Myth: Most child sex offenders begin to offend sexually at an early age.
    Fact: The meean age of first contact is 32.4 years. The modal age is 31-40 years. 10.6% of child sex offenders are 17-20 years old. 6% are over the age of 50.

  • Myth: Child sexual abuse only occurs in dysfunctional families.
    Fact: Sexual abuse can occur in all family types, cultures and classes.

  • Myth: Reporting sexual abuse can cause more harm to the victim.
    Fact: If abuse is not reported, it is more likely that it will continue happening at the child will be more at risk. It also helps the victim to talk about the abuse. The victim's recovery will be enhanced if she or he feels believed, supported, protected, and receives counselling following the disclosure that s/he was assaulted.

  • Myth: Victims of sexual assault are often partly to blame for the assault because they are seductive.
    Fact: Victims of sexual abuse are NEVER to blame for the assault, regardless of their behaviour. Victims are often made to feel like willing participants, which further contributes to their shame and guilt.

  • Myth: Children lie about sexual abuse.
    Fact: Studies have found that less than 5% of allegations of child sexual abuse brought by children are fictitious.

  • Myth: The majority of child sexual abuse victims tell someone about the abuse.
    Fact: It is estimated that 73% of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least a year and 45% of victims do not tell anyone for at least 5 years. Some never disclose. Child sexual abuse has been reported up to 80,000 times a year, but the number of unreported instances is far greater because children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened.

  • Myth: Men and women sexually abuse children equally.
    Fact: Studies have shown the majority of child sexual abusers are men. Men sexually abuse both female and male children, and despite a common myth, homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men.

  • Myth: Family sexual abuse is an isolated, one-time incident.
    Fact: Child sexual abuse is usually a situation that develops gradually over a period of time and occurs repeatedly.

  • Myth: Family sexual abuse only happens in low-income families.
    Fact: Family sexual abuse crosses all classes of society. There is no race, social, or economic class that is immune to family sexual abuse.

  • Myth: Non-violent sexual behavior between a child and an adult is not damaging to the child.
    Fact: Nearly all victims will experience confusion, shame, guilt, anger, and suffer from possessing a poor self image. Child sexual abuse can result in long-term relationship problems as well. The long-term emotional and psychological damage of sexual abuse can be devastating.

  • Myth: Sexual assault is an impulsive act and it typically occurs because someone led another person on or was a tease.
    Fact: Seventy-one percent (71%) of all sexual assaults are planned. The offender usually intends to sexually assault someone or a specific someone. They often take advantage of a person who is in a vulnerable situation (under age, in love, passed out, high, or drunk, etc).

  • Myth: Most sexual assault offenders are part of a minority group.
    Fact: Over 90% of all sexual assaults occur between people of the same race or ethnic background.