Below is a presentation, intended for children, but viewable to all. It highlights the different types of child abuse and some, not all, of the emotions that a victim might feel during the aftermath. This presentation can also be used as a resource to those who are going through child abuse or know someone who is or has gone through it. Don't be afraid to reach out for help if you or someone you know needs it. There are many people and organizations willing to help!
10 Misconceptions about Child Abuse
1. It's only considered abuse if it's violent.
Truth: Physical abuse isn't the only type of child abuse: there's emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. The effects of these aren't as visible, but they are just as detrimental to a child.
2. Only bad people abuse children.
Truth: While some abusers intentionally harm children, the same cannot be said for all abusers. Some have been victims of abuse themselves and don’t know how else to parent. Others could be struggling with financial issues, mental health issues, or even substance abuse problems.
3. Most child abusers are strangers.
Truth: Over 90% of child abusers are parents or someone the victim is close to.
4. Children who are abused will grow up to be abusers themselves.
Truth: While it is true that a victim of child abuse has a higher risk of growing up to be an abuser, many do not want their children to suffer in the same way they did and will use that to treat their children better than they were treated.
5. Abuse doesn't happen in "good" families.
Truth: Abuse and neglect don't only happen in poor families or bad neighborhoods. They can occur no matter the race, ethnicity, demographic, or economic status of the child. And even if you believe a family is perfect, what they show to the public might not be an accurate representation of what goes on behind their closed doors.
6. I can't do anything to prevent child abuse in my community.
Truth: Your efforts have a greater impact on others than you believe they do. Fear will stop you, but when you overcome that and take action, you can change a child's life forever.
7. I will only suffer the effects of child abuse if it's physical.
Truth: Child abuse doesn't only affect one physically, but mentally and socially, as well. The mental and social affects are hard to notice, but they last longer than the physical effects and may even be more harmful. In fact, only about 11% of child abuse cases are physical, which is why so many cases go unnoticed: the effects of emotional and sexual abuse and neglect aren't as visible.
8. Children always speak up if they're being abused.
Truth: Child abuse victims are more likely to be afraid of the consequences of speaking up, such as increased abuse, isolation, etc. In some situations, the child may even feel that they would be betraying their abuser, as most abusers are people that the child knows.
9. The effects of child abuse have to be visible.
Truth: Some of the effects are visible. The damages that the child faces, emotionally, however, are not. Facing sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect, leaves behind invisible scars. But these scars are not any less painful than physical ones.
10. The effects of child abuse are minimal.
Truth: Children who experience abuse or neglect are 9x more likely to be involved in criminal activity later in life. Following child abuse, one faces many struggles including, but not limited to depression, anxiety, and a substance abuse, none of which are minimal effects.