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Myth & Reality

Child abuse is a recent phenomenon, as evident in the media. Child abuse has occurred at all points in the historical continuum.
The difference in the past decade has been an increase in reporting, education, and understanding, not necessarily an increase in abuse.
Historically victim does not report abuse.
Child abuse typically occurs with strangers. Various people can abuse children. Whoever has repeated access to a child can be a potential perpetrator.
Typically, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect is caused by a person in a “care giving” role.
If the perpetrator is a stranger, it is a criminal assault.
Child abuse happens in unusual places. Children are abused in obvious places.
Typically occurs in a place where the child is commonly in.
Some children behave in such a way they provoke child abuse. Any type of abuse is the sole responsibility of the perpetrator.
Children do not ask for abuse, and they don”t “deserve” abuse.
Perpetrators of child abuse are mentally ill or have fantasies about hurting children. There is no “typical” child abuser. Most are “ordinary” people who come from all economic, ethnic, and social groups.
The presence of mental health disorder is not a prerequisite for abuse.
Most victims of child abuse are females. Majority of the reported cases of abuse are females.
This may be a result of social barometer that projects an ongoing stigma for males who fear shame and questions regarding their masculinity if the secret revealed.
Children with disability are not typically targets of abuse. Statistical data may still reflect significant level of under-reporting of child abuse among children with disability.
These children may be unaware that the abuse is wrong, unable to communicate the abuse, or fearful of their own safety because they are dependent for their safety and security needs.
It cannot be considered abuse if a child consents to sexual intercourse. A child cannot consent to any sexual acts, because this contradicts the “age of consent” laws in Malaysia (Child Act 2001).
It cannot be considered abuse if the child says he or she deserves to be beaten because of being bad. Physical abuse, such as beating, is never acceptable or justified.
Children may truly believe and may say that the beating was deserved.


Last reviewed : 28 August 2020
Writer : Dr. Siti Aishah Saidin
Reviewer : Dr. Zainab bt. Kusiar