Myths about CSA in India

"Only girls are abused." "Not in good families." "India's glorious cultural fabric simply does not allow such things to happen! Even if it is happening, it is due to the influence of the western culture and media."

Myth:

Children are rarely abused in India, as the Indian socio-cultural system inherently does not allow for its children to be sexually abused.

Fact:

Statistical data from available research and reported incidents (from children and adult survivors) clearly indicates that child sexual abuse is a widespread problem affecting an extremely large number of children in the country.

 

 Myth:

Child sexual abuse occurs mostly in poor, illiterate families.

Fact:

Child sexual abuse occurs in all social and economic classes of society.

 

Myth:

Sexual abuse generally occurs in surroundings unfamiliar to the child.

Fact:

Most children are sexually abused inside their own homes. In a predominant number of cases, abusers have the trust of children and their families and access to their homes. 

 

Myth:

Only girls are the victims of child sexual abuse.

Fact:

Both girls and boys are victims.

 

Myth:

Children with disability (differently able children) cannot be sexually abused as the abusers either find them sexually unattractive, or feel sorry for them.

Fact:

All children are vulnerable to sexual abuse. Research has proven that differently able children are in fact more likely to be abused because of their increased vulnerabilities.

 

Myth:

Children lie and make up stories about sexual abuse.

Fact:

Children do not lie or weave stories about being sexually abused. The pressure to remain silent to uphold distorted concepts of honor and respect is immense. Also, children in our society are kept ignorant of sex and the possibility of abuse. Given these two facts the child is not lying when he/she relates an incident of sexual abuse. 

 

Myth:

Often precocious children provoke sexual abuse by their "seductive" behavior.

Fact:

Children can never initiate sexual abuse. Terming a child's behavior "seductive" is an adult justification, projection and misinterpretation.

 

Myth:

Children are usually abused by strangers.

Fact:

The majority of abusers are known to the child and are often in positions of trust and power vis-à-vis the child. Example: Family, relatives, neighbours, teachers etc.

 

Myth:

People who sexually abuse are mentally ill or "sick".

Fact:

Abusers are seldom mentally ill; on the contrary they are "regular" people who lead "routine" lives.

 

Myth:

Women do not sexually abuse children.

Fact:

Though most of abusers are men, a small number of women abuse children sexually.

 

Myth:

Child sexual abuse is usually accompanied by physical violence.

Fact:

In most reported cases the abuser is not physically violent but uses emotional manipulation to coerce the victim.

 

Myth:

Somebody in the family usually knows the child is being sexually abused.

Fact:

Usually nobody is aware that the child is being sexually abused.

 

Myth:

A child should be encouraged to forget about the abuse, as there are no harmful effects of child sexual abuse.

Fact:

Child sexual abuse usually has harmful effects and can lead to behavioral, emotional, physical and interpersonal problems.

 

Myth:

Reporting of child sexual abuse can cause more harm than good.

Fact:

If child sexual abuse is not reported then the same abuser may harm other children or may target the same child again.

 

Myth:

Abuse is usually a single isolated incident.

Fact:

There is very often a pattern to abuser's behaviour. They usually repeat their behaviour and with many children as well.

 

Myth:

Only adolescent children get abused.

Fact:

Children of any age can be abused. Reported incidents show that even infants have been sexually abused.