Reasons why people do nothing about child sexual abuse

  1. Sexual Predator: They are guilty of child sexual abuse.
  2. Predator Sympathizer: They sympathize with the predator or they are trying to protect the sexual predator.
  3. Victim’s fault:  They don’t believe the victim  or they believe the victim is to blame and victim should get over it
  4. Child = Little grown-up: They assume kids should know better and they should protect themselves from sexual abuse.
  5. It’s “Stanger Danger”: They believe the myth that predators are crazed male strangers who are not responsible for their harmful behavior.
  6. It’s “The Norm”: Those who believe it will always be a part of life, so there’s no point in trying to end it.
  7. It’s Not Harmful:  They believe the myth that child sexual abuse is not harmful.  It is not as bad as you think it is.
  8. Misogyny: They believe the myth that sexual abuse only happens to girls or that girls ask for it.
  9. Exclusive Women’s Issue: They believe working to end sexual violence or child sexual abuse is an attack on men. They think this is a woman’s/feminist issue being “blown out of proportion.”
  10. Secrecy: They have skeletons in their closet.
  11. Lack empathy: They lack empathy, they just don’t care… if it isn’t happening to them they don’t want to know. They assume child sexual abuse rarely occurs.
  12. Embarrassment/Shame:  It impedes on their comfort zone.  What will people think?! They don’t want to bring shame to the family.
  13. “Passing the Buck”: “I should not get involved.” “This is between the victim and the offender.” “This is a law enforcement problem.”  They believe Mothers or women are the only adults responsible for protecting children from child sexual abuse.  They believe this is not a men’s issue.
  14. Apathy: It didn’t (or hasn’t) happened to them or anyone they know so, “why should I care.” “This really does not happen in most “normal” families.”
  15. Overwhelmed/Hopeless: The problem is too big to solve so just give up.   Getting involved in anti-violence initiatives is too much work and feels hopeless.
  16. Insecurity/Lack Education: They don’t understand or know what constitutes abuse. They don’t understand what is trying to be achieved.
  17. More Pressing Issues: They don’t see it as pressing issue that impacts their community – too many other personal or world issues to concern themselves with.
  18. Denial…..plain and simple! There are just far too many people who would rather stick their heads in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening because they are too cowardly to hold the perpetrators accountable!

Inspiration of this list came from several sources surveyed and was initiated by Al Smith the creator of a child protection book “Koala and Bunny-Instilling Protective Behaviours in Children”( ) along with the African version “Rhino and Elephant” ( ).  The aim of these books are to help prevent the sexual abuse of children by making them aware that they have private body parts that no one else is allowed to touch or tickle.   Both books are FREE FOR ALL by visiting the websites: and .

Bunny and Koala


8 Comments on “Reasons why people do nothing about child sexual abuse”

  1. John Miller says:

    Sad but true. Since breaking my silence several years ago, I have encountered all of these reactions/responses.

  2. John Miller says:

    Sad but true. Since breaking my silence several years ago, I have encountered all of these reactions/responses.

  3. paulabrave says:

    Also, I found a nice article that supports the other reasons … “Why Do Adults Fail to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse or Exploitation?”

    These reasons or causes include:

    Overwhelming feelings (like fear, anger, or shame) caused by just thinking about the sexual abuse of children.

    Confusion caused by incorrect stereotypes about what kinds of people sexually use and abuse children.

    Physical, emotional, and financial dependency on an individual or group that would be lost (for oneself and the family) if such concerns are raised

    Self doubts of various kinds (e.g., “I’m paranoid.” “What if I’m wrong?” “It’s none of my business.”).

    Fears of various consequences (e.g., of acknowledging betrayal by a trusted and respected person, of being wrong, of being right).

    • John Miller says:

      I think that “Denial” should also be added to your list, my friend.

      • paulabrave says:

        Definitely. However, I already have that on my main list on my post from Dec 18. See number 18

        Denial…..plain and simple! There are just far too many people who would rather stick their heads in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening because they are too cowardly to hold the perpetrators accountable!

        I can’t wait for the writer of the Koala and Bunny website to post a list that he said he had. He said it would have 133 different reasons why people do nothing.

  4. paulabrave says:

    I must emphatically emphasize that we should not forget the most overt reason people fail to protect children from sexual abuse or support adult CSA survivors, they are either a predator/abuser or they are sympathetic to or protecting the predator/abuser, as we can clearly see in the case of –

    “Jerry Sandusky’s Wife Says Victims Were ‘Manipulated, And They Saw Money’”

    Jerry Sandusky’s wife breaks her silence, still believes that the convicted molester is innocent

    Then there are news articles like the one Dave Pittman points out on his website:

    “We can’t prove sex with children does them harm” says Labour-linked NCCL

    Once again the uninformed or uneducated public will see the interview on the today show or read articles like this and decide that CSA survivors are not creditable and perpetuate the MYTH that child sexual abuse is harmless to the child and to the family.

    And this leads into my other favorite quote of the week : “When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure. There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the sibylline books. It falls into that long, dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong–these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.” — Winston Churchill (Air Parity Lost – May 2, 1935. House of Commons)

  5. paulabrave says:

    Here is another rebuttal to the newspaper article: “We can’t prove sex with children does them harm” says Labour-linked NCCL

    Where is the science to back their statements in the NCCL article?

    I believe Dr. Judith Herman’s opening paragraph found in Chapter 5, Child Abuse, of her book Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror speaks for itself as a rebuttal to this newspaper article:

    “REPEATED TRAUMA in adult life erodes the structure of the personality already formed, but repeated trauma in childhood forms and deforms the personality. The child trapped in an abusive environment is faced with formidable tasks of adaptation. She must find a way to preserve a sense of trust in people who are untrustworthy, safety in a situation that is unsafe, control in a situation that is terrifyingly unpredictable, power in a situation of helplessness. Unable to care for or protect herself, she must compensate for the failures of adult care and protection with the only means at her disposal, an immature system of psychological defenses. The pathological environment of childhood abuse forces the development of extraordinary capacities, both creative and destructive. It fosters the development of abnormal states of consciousness in which the ordi-nary relations of body and mind, reality and imagination, knowledge and memory, no longer hold. These altered states of consciousness permit the elaboration of a prodigious array of symptoms, both somatic and psychological. And these symptoms simultaneously conceal and reveal their origins; they speak in disguised language of secrets too terrible for words.”

    The NCCL report stated: “Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage.” “The Criminal Law Commission should be prepared to accept the evidence from follow-up research on child ‘victims’ which show there is little subsequent effect after a child has been ‘molested’.

    There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to refute their claim. Where is their evidence to support their claim?

    The NCCL report also stated: “Where both partners are aged 10 or over, but under 14, a consenting sexual act should not be an offence. As the age of consent is arbitrary, we propose an overlap of two years on either side of 14.”

    I am sure there are numerous cases of sibling sexual abuse that could fall under this NCCL claim as “not an offence” just because the abuser claims “he/she (the victim) didn’t say no” … Stop defining sexual abuse by the age difference!

    As a further rebuttal please consider that our human brain is still developing well into our 20s. Does a 10 – 14 year old clearly understand “consent” or is it even a question of “consent” especially if the less powerful child is being abused by the more powerful child? Power could differ by age, size, strength, or developmental level. Also the parents could have granted more power and responsibility to one sibling over another sibling. “Mind (Obey) your brother and sister while I’m gone!”

    Check out this article in Science Daily:

    “Some brain wiring continues to develop well into our 20s”

    The human brain doesn’t stop developing at adolescence, but continues well into our 20s, demonstrates recent research. It has been a long-held belief in medical communities that the human brain stopped developing in adolescence. But now there is evidence that this is in fact not the case.

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