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Blaming the Child

Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Abuse

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Question:

I have heard that sometimes children willingly participate in sexually abusive activities, and that they are partially to blame.

Answer:

Because of their age and the age difference between children and their perpetrators, children are unable to legally consent to sexual activity. They are never to blame for their own abuse–although they are often made to feel like willing participants because of the careful, manipulative behavior of their abusers. This further contributes to their shame and guilt.

If you have the occasion to be involved with a child who has been sexually abused–either your own child or another–one of the most healing responses is to reassure the child that they bear absolutely no responsibility for what an adult has done to them or made them do, even if they have been tricked into believing that the adult cares for them and what they were doing was "okay."

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