General FAQ's for those who care


This section contains FAQ's (frequently asked questions) for those who care about victims and/or abusers, mostly child sexual abuse victims and abusers, but some of what's here will apply to helping any victims or abusers. There are only a few questions at the moment, with more coming. If you have a question you think should be here, submit it here and I'll do my best to add it to this site with an answer.

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General FAQ's:

Why would an adult sexually abuse a child?

In my opinion, I think there are 2 types of child molesters, Those with "faulty wiring" with a sexual interest in young people, and those who are "normal" but for some reason or another temporarily become abnormal. That "temporarily" is the key reason I say there are 2 types. The first one is life-long and the second one is however long they choose. Both types can be helped, if they want to be.

Here are some of the main reasons why an adult may sexually abuse a child.

  • Some are sexually attracted to children. "faulty wiring"
    Most of these people know it's wrong and some will successfully fight this feeling all their life, while others lose the battle.
  • Some who are sexually attracted to children honestly believe it's normal and therefore ok as long as the child consents. They don't realise that most children will "consent" either because of love, fear or some other reason, and don't realise that even if they did consent, children aren't old enough for a choice like this.
  • Some truly think they are just expressing their love. They don't understand the difference between the kinds of love.
  • Some do it for power. They feel they have no control over relationships with adults, so they want a relationship with someone they can control.
  • Sometimes pressure or stress gives them an urgent need "to be loved" so they will find themselves a partner, any partner.
  • Younger people, or people who are younger mentally than physically, may see nothing wrong with it.
Some abusers know they are doing something wrong and wish they could stop, but can't without help. These ones need to be discovered and helped. We need to make it easier for them to find help. Some honestly believe there is nothing wrong with what they are doing, and may even think they are simply expressing love. These ones need to be shown that what they are doing is wrong and need to learn what the consequence is to the children they love. Many of them would actually change if they knew the truth..

How many children are sexually abused?

It is estimated that, on average, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18..

What percentage of sexually abused children report the abuse?

Very few victims report the abuse. Some may disclose bits and pieces to a best friend, but will ask the friend to keep it a secret. Some victims report the abuse later in life, either because they realise it was wrong and not their fault, or the know they need help getting over it.

Why do sexually abused children not report the abuse?

Victims don't report the abuse for many reasons. The abuser almost always knows the child or teen and therefore also knows the best way to keep the victim quiet. Here are just a few things the abuser might tell the victim:
  • If he/she tells, the abuser will go to jail.
  • Nobody would believe him/her.
  • People will blame him/her.
  • This is our little secret.
  • You won't get your allowance for a month.
  • I'm showing you how much I love you.
  • If you tell, I'll hurt your little sister/brother.
  • If you tell, I'll kill your mom and/or dad.
  • If you tell, I'll kill you.
They use different tactics depending on the victim's age and the connection between the 2 of them.
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Help prevent people from becoming victims:

How can I help prevent kids from becoming victims?

The best way to prevent kids from becoming victims is to teach them what's right and wrong at an early age, and teach them to not be afraid to talk..

Are my children safe if I only have women babysitters?

No, for 2 reasons. Babysitters aren't the only child abusers, and even women do abuse children, including sexually. Most child sexual abusers are male, so female babysitters are generally safer, but there are men who make great babysitters. For babysitting, the safest thing to do is hire someone from a respectable agency, or at least get references on anyone before leaving your children with them.
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Help victims step up to stop the abuse:

Is it possible to recognize victims?

In most cases, yes, if you know what to watch for, it is possible to recognize victims. Abusers give victims a reason to not tell others, but victims can't hide their natural reactions and changes. See the next question for what to watch for.

How do I recognize victims?

There are many things to watch for. For now, here are just a few.
One easy sign to notice, when abuse first starts, is a sudden change in a child's personality. If a child suddenly seems to have went into their own little world, something is probably wrong. Here is a short list of some common things you may notice in a child (or teen) who is (sexually) abused.
  • A victim might appear to have an interest in sex beyond what's normal for their age. Unusual actions, interest, or questions can mean too little supervision when surfing the net, or it can mean they have been exposed to something they shouldn't be.
  • A victim will almost always be afraid of the abuser, but sometimes the fear can be hard to see. The abuser has done a good job convincing the victim to not tell, but children can't always hide their fears. (see next question)
  • A sudden drop in school grades usually has a cause. Many different things can cause this, but abuse (of any kind) is a possible reason.
  • A victim may have trouble sleeping. Nightmares, and for younger victims, sudden bed-wetting.
  • Suddenly starts being showered with money or gifts from someone, especially if that someone is a person that has no real reason for it, or if the child won't tell you who they are from. It could be their way of keeping the victim silent, or it could be in preparation for what they want to do.
  • Sudden regression of apparent age. Victims sometimes subconsciously retreat back in time to before the abuse started.
  • Children might suddenly be embarrassed, ashamed, or afraid to get undressed at normal times like bed or bath. They could be afraid you'll see something has happened, or maybe even afraid you, or someone else, will be doing something.
  • In adolescents, self injury, drug or alcohol use, depression, sudden change of diet, any sign of unhappiness, could be a signal. These could be caused by the pressure adolescents face in today's society, but could also mean abuse.
These signs, including a sudden personality change, don't always mean sexual abuse, or any kind of abuse. There are other causes like loss of a loved one, family problems, or even a medical illness, but if you notice any of these, it will not hurt to at least look into it.

Should I be worried if a child or teen appears to be afraid of someone?

If a child appears to be afraid to go with a certain person, or be left with a certain person, it could be for a serious reason. Don't jump to a conclusion because it is possible they just don't like someone, or just don't want you to leave, but if you don't understand why they would be afraid of someone, or not want to be somewhere, change the plans if you can, then when the 2 of you are alone, ask why. Let them know they can tell you anything. If they are still afraid to talk, something is probably wrong.

What do I do if I think a child or teen is being sexually abused?

I will be putting together a whole page about helping to stop child sexual abuse shortly. For now, here's a very brief answer.
If you have any reason for concern of a child, talk to them. BUT, if there may be sexual abuse, be careful. Don't put ideas into their heads. Don't include details when you ask questions. Let the child provide the details. That way, if it goes to court, the abuser can't say someone put those ideas in the victim's head.
eg. Don't ask: "Did someone touch you between your legs?" Ask: "Did someone do something you didn't like?" or "Did someone do something to you, then tell you to keep it a secret?"

If you think a young person is being sexually abused, just find out if there is abuse, then go to the police and let them do the rest. They will have someone trained to do this the best way for the victim.
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Help victims recover from abuse:

A victim has come forward and the abuser has been arrested. What's the first thing I should do?

The first, and most important, thing to do for ANY victims is to reassure them that it WAS NOT their fault, that they did nothing wrong, and they are not guilty of anything. The next best thing to do is be there for them.

Should I take my child for counseling?

Yes. No matter how minor the abuse may appear to have been, or how little effect it appears to have on the child, any abuse will have an effect. How much of an effect it has and how long it lasts can be minimized with professional help. The victim may not even want to talk to someone, but the counselor will know things to say to let the victim know that help is there when they want it, and some day they will want it.
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Help abusers (or potential abusers) get the help they need:

Is it possible to recognize abusers or potential abusers?

Quite often it is. People don't notice though because a lot of the signs are things that you may actually like seeing, until you realise what it may mean. See the next 2 questions for what to watch for.

How do I recognize potential abusers?

Here are some of the more common signs of a potential abuser.
  • Likes to be alone with a child (or teen).
  • Gives gifts or money for no real reason.
  • Tries to control the child (or teen) in ways they really have no reason for.
  • A child appears to be a little too important to him (or her).
  • *Babysits for free, or takes a child out often to give you breaks. Might be nice, but that "too good to be true" rule really applies here.
  • Has very few adult friends. Tends to prefer being around kids or teens.
  • Relates to a child in ways that should be with an adult, like using a child for love or comfort, or doing things with a child that should be done with an adult.
  • Tends to be a little more affectionate than they should be.
  • Talks about, or shows, adult material or topics, around children.
These signs don't always mean you should start worrying, but if you notice any of them, at least start paying closer attention to what's going on around you, and more specifically, what's going on between that person and the child(ren) involved. Some of these signs will be listed in the next question. If it's listed there, you should seriously be looking into it.
*Immediate family members or good friends would usually do this for the right reason, but remember, anybody can be an abuser.

How do I recognize abusers?

Here are some of the more common signs of an abuser. Many signs of abusers are similar to potential abusers, but may be more serious, more frequent or more abnormal.
  • Spends a lot of time alone with a child (or teen).
  • Gives a lot of gifts or money for no real reason.
  • Makes a kid give him (or her) a hug or kiss, or sit on his (or her) lap, even if the child doesn't want to.
  • Tends to get too playful or touchy-feely, especially if the child asks them to stop and they don't, or if the child appears uncomfortable.
  • *Babysits for free all the time, or spends more time with your kid than you do
  • Talks about, or shows, adult material to children.
These signs don't always mean the person is an abuser, but if there is no acceptable explanation, there is a good chance they are, or will be, an abuser. Look for some signs of abuse. Talk to the child, but don't scare them and don't put ideas into their heads. Make sure they know they can trust you, and don't show signs of fear or worry yourself. That can make it harder for them to talk.
*Immediate family members or good friends may do this for the right reason, but if you have any doubts about the situation, make sure they're not doing it for the wrong reason.

Can adults who are sexually interested in children or teens be helped?

Yes. Any adult who has a sexual interest in children or teens, or any teenager sexually interested in younger children, can be helped unless they don't want to be. Most know it's wrong and will want help if they haven't yet progressed to the stage of child abuse. By admitting something is wrong, or by having someone close recognize something is wrong, with counseling and/or medication, they can learn to control their thoughts and urges and live a normal life.

Can child sexual abusers be helped?

Yes, most child sexual abusers can be helped. Like drugs and alcohol, the deeper in they go and the longer they stay, the harder it will be to help them, and some even reach a point where they just can't be saved. The best thing you can do for past abusers is help them stay past abusers. (next set of questions)
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Help past abusers stay past abusers:

Can past abusers stay past abusers?

If they realise they have a problem and want to be helped, yes, any past abuse can stay in the past. Most child sexual abusers can stay past abusers with help.

How can I help past abusers stay past abusers?

If you know someone who was a child sexual abuser who wants to leave that in the past, the 3 main things you can do are:
  1. Help them stay away from situations that may trigger a relapse.
  2. Help them put it behind them by not constantly reminding them of what they did.
  3. Help them have a normal life with normal relationships.
It's a lifetime job for past child sexual abusers to stay "clean", and being lifelong means 2 things:
  1. It's a lot of work fighting it day after day, so any help from others to make it easier is appreciated.
  2. Because it's life long, they will have times when they will be weak, just like ex druggies, alcoholics, or even smokers, and in those times, they could easily relapse. Knowing there are people who care can help greatly.
Past abusers CAN stay past abusers, but only if others help.

What should I do if a child sexual abuser is living in my neighborhood?

We will assume this is a PAST child sexual abuser because if they are still abusing, and you know it, they should not be on the street.

You need to do 2 things. Help keep the young people in the area safe, and help the past abuser stay a past abuser. The first thing you should do is arrange for a neighborhood meeting. Let the neighborhood know about this person, but BE SURE to let them know that it would be a bad idea to attack, harass, or try to scare the person away, and let them know that by working together, with the others and the abuser, the neighborhood can be a safer place and the abuser can be helped. The next thing to do is have another meeting, inviting all the neighbors who want to be involved, and the abuser, letting the abuser know about the previous meeting and how the neighborhood wants to help. The purpose of this meeting will be to let the neighbors get to know the abuser and to let the abuser get to know the neighbors. Knowing the neighbors want to help will make it easier for the abuser and safer for the neighborhood. (see the previous question)
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I will be adding more here soon. If you have a question you think should be here, submit it here and I'll do my best to add it to this site with an answer.

If you need help with something, or have a question of urgent need, feel free to contact me. If I don't know the answer, or can't help, I can help you find the answer or where to get help.

I am NOT a counselor, therapist, or any kind of licensed professional in this area and I have not had any training in this field. I'm just someone who knows a little about abuse, a lot about child sexual abuse, and even more about child sexual abusers. I want to help victims and abusers. By helping abusers, we will have less victims to worry about.

To help me make a difference in the world,
or find out how you can make a difference,
go to my newest site at:
Protecting The Children .org

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