Myths & Truths

Myth

Sexual Abuse of boys is very rare.

Truth

1 in 6 men report having had unwanted direct sexual contact with an older person by the age of 16. This figure is as high as 1 in 4 if indirect or non-contact sexual behaviour such as indecent exposure is included.

Source of statistics Breathing Space

Myth

Boys are less traumatised by sexual abuse.

Truth

Studies show that sexual abuse is extremely damaging to both sexes. For men it also can lead to a loss of identity due to stigma attached to male sexual abuse, and the reluctance men have to seek help.

Myth

Boys should be able to protect themselves from sexual abuse.

Truth

Perpetrators are usually older and in a position of trust or authority, they can use threats, force, bribes and other way to coerce their victims into complying. The fear of not being believed or being somehow held responsible all contribute to maintaining the silence about the abuse.

Myth

All perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse are male.

Truth

Men and women abuse children.

Myth

It is alright for a woman to initiate sex with a boy.

Truth

Sexual contact between any adult and child is sexual abuse, the inequality between the two means the adult has all the power and control.

Myth

Childhood sexual abuse is perpetrated by strangers.

Truth

Perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse are often close family friends or extended family members e.g. father, grandfather, uncle, aunt, mother, priest, friend of the family etc.

Myth

Not remembering the abuse clearly means it may never have happened.

Truth

Many men cannot remember all the details of their childhood sexual abuse, they lock it away, deep in their subconscious to protect themselves from the horrors inflicted on them.

Myth

Perpetrators of male childhood sexual abuse are gay men.

Truth

Perpetrators of male childhood sexual abuse are from all sexual orientations, social classes and ethnic groups.

Myth

Boys sexually abused by adult men are or will become gay or bisexual.

Truth

Sexual orientation is a complex matter there is no scientific reason to explain homosexuality, bisexuality or heterosexuality. Surviving sexual abuse by a male can cause confusion about sexual identity with some survivors. However there is no evidence to suggest that male survivors are of any particular sexual orientation.

Myth

If you get stimulated physically during your sexual abuse you must have enjoyed it.

Truth

It is a natural reaction for the body to respond to arousal. This is outwith a person’s control but can cause confusion and psychological problems.

Speak Out Scotland

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Speak Out Scotland [SCIO] is a Scottish Charity, SC048280, regulated by the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)