THERE IS NO PROOF THAT IF A CHILD IS SEXUALLY ABUSED,
THEY WILL GROW UP TO BECOME A SEXUAL OFFENDER
Either as child, teen or adult.
- Some children do react to their sexual abuse by doing sexual things to other children. This is called sexually reactive. These kids can be helped by counseling and have a reduced risk that they will sexually abuse again in the future. A good evaluation is key.
- The best interventions for kids who are sexually reactive are good supervision, sex education and understanding their body’s reaction to sex (arousal). Their parents will probably need help to understanding their child’s behaviors. Teens need extra care since they have a more developed conscience and thus more guilt.
Most kids who have been sexually abused have also had other types of abuse or difficult home life, so it is very difficult to find out exactly what causes problems later.
- Physical abuse of the child, domestic violence in the home and exposure to pornography are all factors related to children abusing others. Research shows that domestic violence is the greatest factor for kids under 11.
There are over 40 million people in the US who have been sexually abused, and there are not 40 million sex offenders, so there must be other factors related to why adults sexually abuse children.
- The popular belief that all sex offenders have been sexually abused as a child is not based on accurate research. When polygraphs were used to verify offenders’ histories, they found that many adult sex offenders played the “victim card” and reported they were abused when they were not.
BUT ALSO, DON’T PRETEND
If your child has been abused, don’t pretend that they have not been exposed to sexual things before they were ready. Sex is not meant for kids and when abuse happens, it is very confusing. Make sure your child learns the context in which healthy sexuality is supposed to take place.
If your child has had a problem with acting inappropriately sexually or not having healthy boundaries, don’t pretend that these events have not happened. Ask a professional for help in identifying how to keep your child and others safe from future problems.
- Read “New Rules After Sexual Abuse” to make sure you are doing everything you can to help your child heal from their abuse and maintain appropriate behaviors in the future.