Myth: The child is sometimes to blame in sexual abuse.
Fact: The child is never to blame. The adult in authority is responsible for his/her actions.
Myth: Children are abused only by strangers.
Fact: 80% of abused children know their perpetrators.
Myth: The abuser is usually the step parent.
Fact: The abuser is more often the natural father.
Myth: The mother is unaware of the abuse as it occurs.
Fact: The mother is quite often aware, but tends to deny it.
Myth: The stigma is placed on the abuser, not the child.
Fact: The child becomes a victim for his/her lifetime.
PHYSICAL ABUSE is defined as any non-accidental physical injury caused by the child's caretaker. Physical abuse often occurs in the name of discipline.
EMOTIONAL ABUSE is sometimes called "invisible abuse," since the abuse is mental rather than physical. It can be defined as "blaming, belittling, or rejecting," and produces a negative self image for the child.
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE includes any kind of sexual act between an adult or older person and child.
NEGLECT is regarded as "failure to provide the essential for normal life: such as food, shelter, clothing, care and supervision, and protection from assault."
Indicators of Abuse
Unexplained bruises, especially in various stages of healing; old and new scars, marks which are indicative of the article used, i.e., a belt buckle, electrical cord, cigar or cigarette burns, glove- or sock-like burns, unexplained fractures, lacerations, and adult bite marks, social withdrawal, inappropriate sexual knowledge, sudden dislike of someone previously liked, extreme passive aggression, and venereal disease and pregnancy.
The Mississippi Statute states that, "any attorney, physician, dentist, intern, resident, nurse, psychologist, teacher, social worker, school principal, child caregiver, minster, law enforcement officer, or any other person having reasonable cause to suspect that a child brought to him/her or having come to him/her for examination, care or treatment, or of whom he has knowledge through observation is a neglected or an abused child," is required to report.