Thursday, 31 January 2013

Myths about child abuse #childabuse #survivors

Myth: Child abuse is rare

Fact: We now know that many traditional childrearing practices, such as hitting, threatening or shouting at children, are harmful to children's physical and psychological health. We also know that between a quarter and third of children will experience sexual assault before the age of 18.

Myth: It is only abuse if it is violent

Fact: Child abuse does not necessarily involve violence or anger. Abuse often involves adults exploiting their power over children, and using children as objects rather then respecting their rights as young people.

Myth: People lie about child abuse for attention and sympathy

Fact: Research shows that it is very rare for a person to state they were abused when they were not, however, “false negative reports” of abuse are common e.g. many adults state that they were not abused as children when they were. Police and court statistics also demonstrate that it is very rare for a person to fabricate a claim of child abuse.

Myth: Children grow out of bad experiences in childhood

Fact: Adults are deeply affected by abuse and neglect in childhood. You cannot just “get over” child abuse. Survivors of child abuse need care and support in order to overcome the impacts of abuse and live full and healthy lives.

Myth: People who sexually abuse children are mentally ill

Fact: Most people who sexually abuse children do not fit the psychiatric criteria for paedophilia, and they are often married or have sexual relationships with adults as well. In anonymous surveys, a significant minority of men in the community indicate a sexual interest in children.

Myth: People who sexually abuse children have been sexually abused themselves.

Fact: Many people believe there is a "cycle of abuse", however, research evidence proffers little support for this belief. The majority of sexually abused children are female, and yet the majority of sexual abusers are male. Some studies have found that sexually abusive men are more likely to report a history of sexual abuse then men in the community, however, the majority of men who sexually abuse children do not report being sexually abused in childhood.

Myth: People do not “forget” child abuse, therefore “recovered memories” are false

Fact: For over one hundred years, traumatic amnesia has been documented amongst war veterans, survivors of natural and man-made disasters, and adult survivors of child abuse. These memories can later resurface through flashbacks, nightmares and intrusive thoughts. These memories have sometimes been called “recovered memories”. Children who have been abused may also employ other forms of forgetting, such as a compulsive avoidance of any thoughts to do with abuse, in order to avoid acknowledging abuse in their lives. This pattern of cognitive avoidance may continue into adulthood.

Myth: Children are very suggestible and they can easy "make up" stories of abuse

Fact: Children are no more suggestible then adults, and they can clearly distinguish between reality and fantasy. Research has shown that children resist making false reports during leading and suggestive interviewing techniques. Since the early 1990s, training has been available to social workers and psychotherapists in relation to neutral and evidence-based interviewing techniques with children who disclose abuse.

Myth: Memories of “satanic ritual abuse” are evidence that memories of child abuse cannot be trusted

Fact: In Australia, America and Europe, numerous people have been put in jail for participating in ritualistic sexual abuse by groups of offenders. Alongside ritualistic abuse, they have been found to be involved in abduction, child trafficking, torture, murder and sexual assault. A child or adult who disclosures bizarre, sadistic or ritualistic abuse should be taken very seriously and given all the care and support that they require.

Myth: Many so-called survivors suffer from False Memory Syndrome

Fact: There is no psychiatric condition called False Memory Syndrome. The term was invented by the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, which was founded in 1992 to represent the interests of people accused of sexually abusing children. Throughout the 1990s, a number of sympathetic journalists reproduced their claims about an “epidemic” of “false memories” of sexual abuse.

Myth: Many psychotherapists practice “Recovered Memory Therapy” and encourage clients to blame their parents for abuse that never happened

Fact: There is no psychotherapeutic technique called “Recovered Memory Therapy”. The term was also invented by the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, and whilst failing to provide a firm definition, they used it to describe all forms of therapy and counselling where a client may disclose a history of incest or abuse. Many journalists used the term in the erroneous belief that it referred to an existing category of therapy.

Courtesy of ASCA 


Anonymous said...

You are so right about adults making up stories. Why would we, when you receive no family support and no one wants to believe you?

Mona Karel said...

I've come to believe a "normal" childhood is the exception rather than the norm, and some form of abuse occurs in nearly every childhood.

The Roaming Photographer said...

Child abuse comes in many forms and not enough people take the time to truly understand it or do anything about it until it happens to some one they love.


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