Knowing that your child was sexually abused is heartbreaking, terrifying, and confusing. If your child recently told you they were abused, and you have not yet reported this to the police or another child protection agency such as a child advocacy center, sexual abuse nonprofit, or child protective services, please visit the section about reporting allegations before reading this.
While the revelation that your child was abused is certainly earth-shattering, you first need to know the difference between the myths about abuse that you may have heard or assume, and the facts about abuse. For a more detailed look at the facts, please see the facts section about child sexual abuse.
Here are some of the myths (black bullet point) that get tossed around and the facts (circle bullet point) that counter them:
Above all, believe your child. There is only a 4-8% chance that they are lying to you, and not believing them can make it much harder for them. While getting expert help and resources can be helpful, there is a chance that you are more affected by knowing that they were sexually abused than they are. Overreacting and taking them to see therapists if they do not need them can make the trauma worse, not better. Pay attention to what your child needs, and talk with them about what they want. They need to be your priority, and to help them, you will also need to take care of yourself. If you need someone to talk to, do not hesitate to find resources in your area. A child advocacy center can help you with these things.
There are many organizations that specialize in helping victims of child sexual abuse, and this site is not one of them. Please use the resources below.
This organization is a coalition of 795 child advocacy organizations, and has tools to search for organizations that are in your community. Each of these organizations has tools that you can utilize, as does the main site.
This links to the fantastic resource page compiled by The Mama Bear Effect, an organization that seeks to end child sexual abuse. Many different organizations are mentioned.
This is an organization that focuses on supporting people who either have mental health issues, or are getting help from the mental health system. Their site is aimed more at advocacy and those wishing to start self-help initiatives, but survivors may find their information helpful.
This is one of the most known groups in the US that helps those who were sexually abused by clergy or spiritual leaders. They operate nationwide and locally, and their main site is easy to navigate.
This organization focuses on mother-daughter sexual abuse, and supports women who were abused by their mothers.
This organization focuses on child abuse, but also has prevention, intervention, and treatment programs available for a variety of situations. Their hotline operates in the United States and Canada and their territories.
This organization encompasses resources about sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse by aiming to educate, heal, and advocate. If you are looking for support and healing, you can find it under "programs" from the main page.
This organization focuses on reporting, education, and prevention. While some of their literature needs a fact check (they say that "one child sex offender can have as many as 73 victims in their lifetime", but the facts indicate that the majority have a single victim), they also have resources for survivors from a variety of situations.