Myths about child abuse must be broken
Abuse claims partner Dino Nocivelli explains how toxic myths about child abuse can have an extremely harmful effect on survivors of child abuse and prevent perpetrators from being held accountable.
Posted on 05 May 2023
There are numerous barriers that child sexual abuse survivors have to overcome to be able to disclose their abuse and it is important that we break these barriers down and as soon as possible.
I do numerous talks every year for charities, lawyers and other groups about the law and child abuse survivors with the continual hope that one day the taboo of sexual abuse will be forever removed.
Aside from the inherent private nature of abuse, additional disclosure issues can be relating to gender, religion and the identity and position of trust held by the abuser.
Myths about abuse and abuse survivors can also hold people back from disclosing, with these myths ranging from blaming the survivor for somehow encouraging the abuse, to questioning their inability to say no to the abuse or being unable to disclose their abuse for numerous years, to perhaps the most toxic myth of all – that those who suffer abuse then go on to abuse others.
Numerous research pieces have concluded that abuse by abuse survivors is at no higher prevalence than the percentage risk in the general public, and from my experience as an abuse lawyer I have found my clients to be overprotective rather than abusive in any manner.
The sad truth is that a number of my clients, both female and male, have decided to never have children because they are terrified that people will accuse them of abusing their own children and some of my clients have decided to have vasectomies at a very young age to prevent this scenario.
The myth that abuse survivors go on to abuse other children is particularly damaging when it comes to teachers.
My teacher clients often are unable to tell their partners, work mates, friends or family for fear of repercussion and they are concerned that parents of their pupils will raise concerns if they ever found out that their child's teacher was a child abuse survivor.
This fear can prevent the abuse survivor from disclosing their abuse to anyone or from speaking to medical professionals to obtain support, and it has on occasion prevented them from being able to be open to some of their own pupils who have suffered abuse and this results in the cycle of pain and suffering to sadly continue for another generation.
As a society we have to do better to get rid of harmful myths about child sexual abuse and to act now because if we continue to fail then abuse survivors will continue to be silenced, their pain and suffering will continue unabated and abusers will be able to continue to be in open society.
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