MYTH: Children lie about being abused, often for attention.
FACT: Children don't lie about being sexually abused. They are made to lie in order to keep it a secret.
MYTH: Children are sexually abused by strangers of an unknown adult.
FACT: Perpetrators are not waiting on the street to snatch kids; only 10% of sexually abused children are abused by a stranger. The other 90% of survivors are abused by someone they (or their family) know and trust. Perpetrators integrate themselves into everyone’s life, not just the child’s. They build relationships with the caregivers, family and friends so that they are trusted to be alone with the child. Gaining access this way gives them many more opportunities to perpetrate. This is a process called grooming.
MYTH: Child sexual abuse happens mostly to girls.
FACT: While it’s true that females are up to five times more likely to be abused than males, boys are still at risk. Boys are much less likely to come forward with allegations of abuse due to stigma and shame, so reporting rates are much lower for this demographic. This artificially adjusts the numbers to seem like boys are abused less than girls.
MYTH: Children are only at risk of sexual abuse from men who are pedophiles.
FACT: Not everyone who sexually abuses children is a pedophile, or a man. Women and peer youth can also offend. Pedophilic offenders often start offending at an early age and often have many victims (frequently non-family members). However, child sexual abuse is perpetrated by a wide range of individuals with diverse motivations.
Sexual abuse is often a crime of opportunity. It is possible for someone to be a “situational offender,” someone who offends once or twice at times of stress and begin offending later than pedophilic offenders. They also have fewer victims (often family) and have a general preference for adult partners.
As many as 40% of children who are sexually abused are abused by older, or more powerful children. Most adolescent sex offenders are not sexual predators and will not go on to become adult offenders.
MYTH: 16 year olds can consent to have sex with an adult.
FACT: TV shows and social media often sexualize teenagers and romanticize situations that in the “real world” would be considered sexual abuse and assault. Abuse always involves a power dynamic, in which one more powerful person (often an older person) exerts themselves over the less powerful (or younger). This is why teenagers under the age of 18, as minors, cannot consent to sex with adults. Make it a point to have conversations with the teenagers in your life about consent (freedom to choose), body boundaries, and safety.
NOTE: A child/adolescent under the age of "legal consent" can never provide genuine consent to sex acts. Because of differences in maturity and power, adults are always responsible for their conduct with children. Children can not be held responsible.
Age of consent (varies from state to state) a legal term for the age a person must reach to give consent to sex. If an adult engages in any type of sexual activity with someone below the age of consent in that state, they're committing a crime even if the minor said they agreed to have sex.
Texas - the age of consent is 17, which means if an adult engages in any form of sexual activity with a child under 17, it is considered statutory rape, even if the younger individual agreed to the sexual activity or lied about their age.
A child (minor) is considered unable to consent by the Law due to:
1) developmental immaturity (mental and emotional)
2) an inability to understand sexual behavior
IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO ENGAGE IN SEXUAL ACTIVITY WITH A MINOR (all 50 states)