Why do people believe the lies of child molesters?

Charles Whitfield (2011) researched the defense tactics of accused and convicted child molesters and found that of all the defenses that a child molester has at his/her disposal, the most effective is our collective desire not to know. We all so much want the abuser not to have happened that when an accused person says they didn't do it, it resonates with our own personal hopes and beliefs about the incident.

How Society Enables Child Molesters
Charles Whitfield (2001) researched the defense tactics of accused and convicted child molesters and found that of all the defenses that a child molester has at his disposal, the most effective is our collective desire not to know. We all so much want the abuse not to have happened that when an accused person says they didn’t do it, it resonates with our own personal hopes and beliefs about the incident.

Read more about this research from The Leadership Council’s post

“Society gives the image of sexual violators as weird, ugly, anti-social, alcoholics. Society gives the impression that violators kidnap children are out of their homes and take them to some wooded area and abandon them after the violation. Society gives the impression that everyone hates people who violate children. If all of these myths were true, healing would not be as challenging as it is.
Half of our healing is about the actual abuse. The other half is about how survivors fit into society in the face of the myths that people hold in order to make themselves feel safe. The truth is that 80% of childhood sexual abuse is perpetrated by family members. Yet we rarely hear the word “incest”. The word is too ugly and the truth is too scary. Think about what would happen if we ran a campaign to end incest instead of childhood sexual abuse. The number one place that children should know they are safe is in their homes. As it stands, as long as violators keep sexual abuse within the family, the chances of repercussion by anyone is pretty low. Wives won’t leave violating husbands, mothers won’t kick their violating children out of the home, and violating grandparents still get invited to holiday dinners. It is time to start cleaning house. If we stop incest first, then we will strengthen our cause against all sexual abuse.”
― Rosenna Bakari, Talking Trees facebook page

Related Posts

10 Male Sexual Assault Myths – Male Abuse Awareness Week

Survivor - to remain alive or in existence, to carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere. Abuse - intentional harm or injury to another person, can be physical, sexual, and/or psychological. Dec 1- 8th Male Abuse Awareness Week. http://Facebook.com/TraumaAndDissociation

Male Abuse Awareness Week

~ May Trigger ~

Myth 1: Men can’t be raped or sexually assaulted.

Reality: Any man can be sexually assaulted or raped regardless of size, strength, appearance, age, occupation, race or sexual identity. The idea that men can’t be raped or sexually assaulted is linked to unrealistic beliefs that a ‘man’ should be able to defend himself against attack. Until 1997, under Australia’s Queensland Criminal Code, the offence of rape could only be committed against a woman.

Myth 2: Only gay men are sexually assaulted.

Reality: Any man can be raped, whether he identifies as straight, gay, bi, transgender or fluid sexuality. Rape is an act of force or coercion where someone’s personal choice is ignored. Just as being robbed does not tell you anything about someone’s sexuality, neither does rape. However, research does suggest that gay identifying men are more likely to be the subject of sexual violence.

Myth 3: It is gay men who sexually assault other men.

Reality: Most men who sexually assault other men identify themselves as straight.

Myth 4: Men cannot be sexually assaulted by women.

Reality: Although the majority of sexual assaults of men are committed by men, women do sexually assault men. Sexual assault is not always enacted through overwhelming physical force: it can involve emotional manipulation whereby a man can be coerced into sexual act out of fear of potential repercussions for his relationships, work, etc. The number of men identifying sexual abuse by a woman as a boy or young man has increased over the past few years. Ideas that men should always want sex with women and that as a young man you should feel lucky if you have sex with an older woman also make it difficult for a man to publicly name sexual assault by a woman.

Myth 5: Erection or ejaculation during sexual assault means you “really wanted it” or consented to it.

Reality: Erection or ejaculation are physiological responses that can be induced through manipulation and pressure on the prostate. Some people who commit sexual assault are aware how erections and ejaculations can confuse a man and this motivates them to manipulate their body and penis to the point of erections or ejaculation. They also can use this manipulation as a way to increase their feelings of control and to discourage reporting of the offence.

Myth 6: Most rapists are strangers.

Reality: Most men know the person who assaults them in some way. Often he/she is well known to them. They may be a friend, neighbour, boss or a relative, father, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, partner or ex partner. They may be a tradesperson or a professional e.g. doctor, teacher, psychiatrist, police officer, clergy or public servant.

Myth 7: Some people physically can’t commit rape.

Reality: A person’s physical strength, sex, sexual potency and sexual preference does not affect their ability to rape. Sexual assault can be committed through coercion or manipulation, by using fingers or objects such as sticks, marker pens or bottles. Rape is not all about physical force: young people and old people do sexually assault young and old people.

Myth 8: Men who sexually assault can’t control their sexuality.

Reality: People can control their sexual desires if they want to, however strong they might be. No “desire” gives anyone the right to violate and abuse another person. Far from being caused by lack of control, many sexual assaults are pre-planned and involve considerable abuse of power and control.

Myth 9: Men who have been sexually assaulted will go on to perpetrate sexual assault.

Reality: The majority of men who experience sexual violence do not perpetrate abuse or assault (they are horrified by such a suggestion). This is one of the most difficult myths for men: it can make men very reluctant to talk about experiences of rape or sexual abuse. There is no evidence to suggest an automatic route from experiencing abuse to going on to commit sexual offences. However, particular experiences (additional to sexual abuse) and models of masculinity are associated with an increased risk of someone perpetrating abuse.

Myth 10: Men who are raped are damaged and scarred for life.

Reality: Men can and do survive sexual assault, physically and emotionally, and go on to live full lives, enjoying rewarding relationships as friends, partners or parents. Although sexual assault can have a profound impact on men, they can and do find a way through and live the kind of life they would like. The media and many professional publications concentrate on stories of damage, recounting horror stories of what happened and the associated problems, without providing equal time to detail how men get on with their lives.


http://www.livingwell.org.au/information/unhelpful-myths-about-the-sexual-assault-and-rape-of-men/ (some changes made)

Help and Information


http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/help-for-abused-men.htm Domestic violence information and help

50 Shades of Grey is like Twilight – Domestic Abuse is normalized

The mass marketing campaign that follows the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy seems unaware that it promotes non-consensual physical and sexual activity.

50 Shades of Grey is not portraying Safe, Sane and Consensual kink (BDSM) within a relationship… for instance Ana says “No” to sex, and Christian then rapes her. Some bloggers have also pointed out the undertones of pedophilia, despite Ana’s reported age of 21.

50 shades of abuse romanticized poster

50 shades of abuse romanticized from http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca

The level of emotional abuse and manipulative behavior includes stalking, isolation from others, and harassment,  paralleling criticism of the Twilight Saga, which ironically was written by a woman with very conservate views on relationships.

How many of the overt and covert signs of domestic violence and emotional abuse can you spot from 50 Shades? What counts as criminal activity where you live?

Read 50 shades of grey Warning Signs & The Cycle of Abuse.

Related links

Viewing life through the filter of trauma

If you or someone you know has experienced trauma then you may find some of these familiar:

  • can’t trust anyone[1]
  • intense or prolonged distress caused by reminders of the trauma [1]
  • others will betray my trust [2]
  • the world is competely dangerous [1] and unpredictable [3]
  • I’m completely incompetent (in coping with this dangerous world) [3]

Mental Filters

Each of us, whether we have experienced trauma or not, have mental filters (schemata) as a result of our past experiences, and these affect how we view the world in the present. Trauma affects these mental filters, even in people who do not develop PTSD symptoms. Our past experiences affect our perception of the present –

You are here in this current reality, reacting to events as they occur, and at the same time are influenced by your past reality.

Your past not only filters your interpretation and reactions to current events, but also serves as a template for expectations, assumptions, and a whole array of emotional and physical reactions.
Healing From Military Sexual Trauma, Katz & Hammerslough (2014)

A past which includes maternal abuse or neglect, or awareness through others of the long-term impacts of this, is likely to heighten your awareness of indicators that someone may be experiencing abuse or neglect in the home. But many people in society choose to deny or minimize the reality that some mothers are abusive, and generalize about the positive qualities of ‘all mothers’.


Rose-colored Glasses – a Defense against Reality?

Common defenses against trauma help with coping in the short-term, but cause more damage in the longer term. These defenses are not only used by the trauma survivor: but also by their families and friends, the media and society.
Common psychological defenses include:

  • Denial – nothing happened, I’m fine
  • Minimization – it wasn’t that bad, other people went through worse, victim-blaming and self-blame
  • Dissociation – e.g., emotional numbing, amnesia for some of the trauma (PTSD symptoms) or dissociative amnesia
  • Avoidance – avoiding trauma reminders (a PTSD symptom), or avoiding emotions like anger or rage (e.g., premature forgiveness), or avoiding any awareness of trauma (e.g. on the news)

The popular film Black Swan, about a rising but naive ballet star who “just wanted to be perfect” contained many psychological and dark themes. Which did you recognize?
Did your mental filter consider the possibility of mother-daughter incest?
Incest survivor Faith Allen gives her views, seen through her mental filter: Black Swan: A movie about Mother-Daughter Sexual Abuse (http://faithallen.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/black-swan-movie-about-mother-daughter-sexual-abuse)


  1. DSM-5 PTSD criteria
  2. The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress. Mary Beth Williams (2002)
  3. Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD: Emotional Processing of Traumatic Experiences Therapist Guide. Edna Foa, Elizabeth Hembree, Barbara Olaslov Rothbaum (2007).

Related links