FACT #6 – Male survivors are not more likely to become sexual abusers
Simply put – the majority of males who are sexually abused do not become sexual abusers.
Otherwise know as the “Vampire Myth” this toxic stereotype is especially dangerous because it can create terrible stigma and shame, reinforcing fears in both the victim and his family that he is destined to become an offender. As a result survivors who report can sometimes be treated as potential perpetrators rather than victims who need help. In addition, adult men who experienced sexual abuse can delay disclosure for fear of being labeled as a potential risk to their own or other people’s children.
Many studies investigating the link between victimization and perpetration show that it is a minority of offenders who report experiencing sexual abuse as children:
- “proportionally very few of these sexually abused boys (3%) went on to become sexual offenders; and, contrary to findings typically reported in retrospective clinical studies, proportionally few sexual offenders (4%) had a confirmed history of sexual abuse. – Leach, Chelsea, Anna Stewart, and Stephen Smallbone. “Testing the sexually abused-sexual abuser hypothesis: a prospective longitudinal birth cohort study.” Child abuse & neglect (2015).
- 28.2% of the total 1,717 offenders reported that they had been sexually abused as children. Hanson, R. Karl, and S. Slater. “Sexual victimization in the history of sexual abusers: A review.” Annals of Sex Research 1.4 (1988): 485-499.
- 31% of 348 men convicted of sexual assault crime reported “[e]vidence of some form of sexual trauma during their developmental years (ages 1 through 15)” Groth, A. Nicholas, and Ann W. Burgess. “Sexual trauma in the life histories of rapists and child molesters.” Victimology 4.1 (1979): 10-16.
- 8 of 117 victims of CSA identified as potential pedophiles Bagley, Christopher, Michael Wood, and Loretta Young. “Victim to abuser: Mental health and behavioral sequels of child sexual abuse in a community survey of young adult males.” Child Abuse & Neglect 18.8 (1994): 683-697.
- In 2 studies, Hindman and Peters report that 29% and 32% of convicted serial offenders reported being victims of CSA during a polygraph administered post conviction. Hindman, Jan, and James M. Peters. “Polygraph testing leads to better understanding adult and juvenile sex offenders.” Fed. Probation 65 (2000): 8.
Again, while it is true that a significant proportion of perpetrators report having histories of sexual abuse, MOST victims DO NOT go on to commit acts of sexual violence against others.
Indeed, when child victims were followed prospectively, research by Loh and Gidcyz stated, “prospective analyses indicate that childhood sexual assault is not predictive of perpetration during the follow-up period” Loh, Catherine, and Christine A. Gidycz. “A prospective analysis of the relationship between childhood sexual victimization and perpetration of dating violence and sexual assault in adulthood.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 21.6 (2006): 732-749.
For persons seeking information on effective interventions for persons who perpetrate sexual abuse we suggest contacting https://www.atsa.com/