10 Common Myths About Child Sex Abuse

Houston sex crime defense lawyer shares the most common misconceptions about child abuse

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If you or someone you know faces a charge of child sex abuse — perhaps based on false allegations — then you should know about some of the most common myths, misconceptions and outright lies about child sex abuse. These myths could play a role in your legal case and make it vital to engage an experienced Houston sex crime defense lawyer.

Myth #1: Abused children usually tell someone immediately

First, according to the National Children's Advocacy Center (NCAC), is the myth that children customarily tell someone if they've been sexually abused. On the contrary, research shows that a majority of children delay or never disclose their sex abuse to family members, friends or authorities.

Of course, that doesn't mean their abuse isn't discovered in other ways.

Myth #2: Medical evidence can prove that sexual abuse occurred

Second is the myth that medical evidence will reveal if a child has been sexually abused. The NCAC says that’s true in only 5 percent of substantiated cases of child sex abuse. In other cases, it takes more than medical evidence to prove child sex abuse.

Myth #3: Many kids lie about being sexually abused

Third is the myth that many children lie about being sexually abused. According to the American Journal of Psychotherapy, no more than 10 percent of children lie about being victims of sexual abuse. That's a lot of truth, but it doesn't discount the fact that there are lies in about 1 in 10 cases. Even if most children tell the truth, that doesn’t help the defendants who are falsely accused.

Take the bitter and never substantiated child sex abuse claims by actress Mia Farrow about former boyfriend Woody Allen. Her use of her children to attack her former lover shows how parents can influence children's sex crime claims.

Also, keep in mind that other studies found higher rates of children lying about being sexually abused. They take into account not just deliberate lies, but also unintentional false claims after suggestive questioning by authorities. In fact, combined deliberate and unintentional false claims of child sex abuse could be as high as 35 percent of all claims.

Myth #4: Child sex abuse only happens to certain people

Fourth is the myth that child sex abuse happens in only some parts of society. Though rates of neglect and physical abuse tend to be influenced by socioeconomic status, child sexual abuse happens across all facets of society, according to the Encyclopedia of Psychology and Law.

Myth #5: Boys are less traumatized by sex abuse than girls

Fifth is the myth that boys are not as traumatized by sexual abuse as girls. Several psychiatric journals, including the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, avow that boys are equally traumatized by sex abuse.

Myth #6: Only men commit child sex abuse

Sixth is another myth involving the divide between males and females. This myth holds that only men abuse children sexually. Several psychiatric studies, reported in such publications as the Journal of Child Sex Abuse, show that as many as one in five substantiated cases of child sex abuse involve female perpetrators.

Myth #7: Sex abuse is caused by a perpetrator's own victimization

A seventh child sex abuse myth is that boys who were abused sexually as a child will grow up to become child sexual abusers themselves, perpetuating a cycle of sex abuse. On the contrary, studies show that boys who are sexually abused rarely grow up to become sexual abusers. So if an adult male is accused of child sexual abuse based on his own victimization as a child, that bears refutation.

Myth #8: Children with disabilities are less likely to be abused

An eighth myth about child sex abuse is that children who suffer disabilities are less likely to be subjected to sex abuse than children who have no disabilities. On the contrary, studies reported in such places as the International Journal of Children's Rights show that children with disabilities are 2-3 times more likely to suffer sex abuse than children without disabilities.

Myth #9: Most sex abusers are strangers

A ninth myth about child sex abuse is a common one involving the nature of abusers. This myth holds that children who are abused sexually tend to suffer at the hands of strangers who may be creepy or psychopathic.

That is far from correct, according to the Crimes Against Children Research Center in Durham, NC, which reports that around 90 percent of child victims know their abuser in advance. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 90 percent of victims in 2015 were abused by one or both parents — not by predatory strangers trying to lure them with candy or other means.

Besides parents, other abusers who may be known to children in advance can include foster parents, other relatives, daycare providers and neighbors.

Myth #10: Child sex abuse is the most common kind of abuse in the home

Finally, a tenth common myth concerning child sex abuse is that the most common kind of abuse in the home is sexual. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that, in the home, child neglect is more common than child sexual abuse.

Clearly, children are placed at risk in many ways and in many places, and sex abuse is just one form of victimization. But when it comes to legal penalties, child sex abuse is treated far more harshly than many other abuses of children, especially in states such as Texas.

For instance, Texas laws on child sex abuse hold that sexual contact is a second degree felony, with punishments of two to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

FACT: Those accused of child sex abuse need an experienced defense lawyer

If you or a loved one unfairly face a charge or allegation of child sex abuse, then you need a skilled and knowledgeable sex crime defense lawyer to fight for their legal rights.

Many defense strategies can boost a defendant's case. One may be revealing that evidence was tainted, including unintentional false claims made by children when pressed by authorities with suggestive inquiries. Another may be determining that an adult who brings the false claim to police had a motive to humiliate, harm or damage the defendant, as sometimes occurs during divorce proceedings.

Whatever the case, everyone is entitled to their day in court. Everyone is entitled to due process in the legal arena. Everyone should be presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty.

But not everyone chooses the right defense attorney to represent them.

Those living in Harris County, Fort Bend County or Montgomery County must make the right choice. Too much is at stake to fail to do so.

Reach out to the Houston offices of the Neal Davis Law Firm if you face an unfair charge of child sexual abuse. We'll promptly provide you a legal review of your case and advise you on how to proceed. Then, you can decide if you want to engage our law firm to fight for you, as we have fought for so many others.

Myths about child sex abuse should not be enough to substantiate the false claims against you.

Contact us now, and let's get started defending your legal rights.

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