A 49-year-old woman in the town where I grew up was recently arrested for sexual abuse. She was indicted on 14 charges of facilitation to first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy and incest. Reading the three little paragraphs in our local paper about this indictment brought to mind two huge myths about sexual abuse.
Women don't sexually abuse children.
It doesn't happen in "my" hometown.
To be clear, this woman has not been proven guilty as of the date of the publication of this blog post, but women are found guilty of abusing, molesting, and raping children more than we'd care to admit. Just search the National Sex Offender Registry. As of today, there are a handful of women in my area who are registered sex offenders.
There are so many myths about sexual abuse and rape. Sometimes I get really frustrated when people perpetuate these myths. As a survivor and an advocate, I often wonder how I can help kick these lies to the curb. I guess it's just a question of continuing to speak out until people start getting the message.
It's up to us to keep our children safe. We need to know the FACTS.
Just because your babysitter is a woman does not mean your child is somehow automatically exempt from being sexually abused or raped.
It's happening in your hometown. I promise.
Abusers depend on these myths to protect them from suspicion, and they use these myths to their advantage, often pulling the wool over society's eyes! By educating ourselves and others about the reality that is sexual abuse, we may help stop perpetuating myths and start protecting children. Keep talking. Keep teaching. Keep trying.
If you're interested in learning more about myths and facts about childhood sexual abuse, here are a few great places to get started:
Myths About Sexual Abuses
Eight Common Myths About Childhood Sexual Abuse
Darkness to Light: 7 Steps to Protecting Our Children
What abuse myths are you aware of? How can you help dispel them?
Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!