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Facts About Sex Offenders

When Katie, who is working on gender issues, focusing on empowering women and girls in Rwanda, told me that most sexual assaults against women and girls are done by people they know, including relatives, friends, or people they met before, rather than completely strangers, I was quite shocked. Because we always thought “unknown” contributes to “unsafe”. To proving her saying, I found a research about sex offenders, which really gave me a new cognition of sexual assaults.

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I picked some facts:

Most men who commit sexual offenses do not know their victim. 
False. 90% of child victims know their offender, with almost half of the offenders being a family member. Of sexual assaults against people age 12 and up, approximately 80% of the victims know the offender.

Most sexual assaults are committed by someone of the same race as the victim. 
True. Most sexual assaults are committed by someone of the same race as the victim. An exception to this is that people who commit sexual assault against Native Americans are usually not Native American.
 
Most child sexual abusers use physical force or threat to gain compliance from their victims. 
False. In the majority of cases, abusers gain access to their victims through deception and enticement, seldom using force. Abuse typically occurs within a long-term, ongoing relationship between the offender and victim and escalates over time.
 
Most child sexual abusers find their victims by frequenting such places as schoolyards and playgrounds. 
False. Most child sexual abusers offend against children whom they know and with whom they have established a relationship. Many sexual assaults of adult women are considered "confidence rapes," in that the offender knows the victim and has used that familiarity to gain access to her.
 
If a child does not tell anyone about the abuse, it is because he or she must have consented to it. 
False. Children often do not tell for a variety of reasons including the offender's threats to hurt or kill someone the victim loves, as well as shame, embarrassment, wanting to protect the offender, feelings for the offender, fear of being held responsible or being punished, fear of being disbelieved, and fear of losing the offender who may be very important to the child or the child's family.
 
It is common for both child and adult victims of sexual assault to wait some time before telling someone about the abuse. 
True. It is common for victims of sexual assault to wait some time before telling someone. When the person was assaulted as a child, he or she may wait years or decades. The reasons for this are numerous: victims may want to deny the fact that someone they trusted could do this to them; they may want to just put it behind them; they may believe the myth that they caused the assault by their behavior; or they may fear how other people will react to the truth.
 
It helps the victim to talk about the abuse. 
True. The victim's recovery will be enhanced if she or he feels believed, supported, protected, and receives counseling following the disclosure that s/he was assaulted. However, sexual assault victims should always have the choice about when, with whom, and under what conditions they wish to discuss their experiences.
 
Sexual gratification is often not a primary motivation for a rape offender. 
True. While some offenders do seek sexual gratification from the act, sexual gratification is often not a primary motivation for a rape offender. Power, control, and anger are more likely to be the primary motivators.
 
Offenders could stop their sexually violent behavior on their own if they wanted to. 
False. Wanting to change is usually not enough to be able to change the patterns that lead to sexual offenses. To create the motivation to change, some offenders need a variety of treatment and corrective interventions, and for others learning how to make the change in their own behavioral cycle of abuse is more effective.
 
Men who rape do so because they cannot find a consenting sexual partner. 
False. Studies suggest that most rape offenders are married or in consenting relationships.
 
Drugs and alcohol cause sexual offenses to occur. 
False. While drugs and alcohol are often involved in sexual assaults, drugs and alcohol do not cause sexual offenses to occur. Rather, drug and alcohol use may be a disinhibitor for the offender, while being under the influence may increase a potential victim's vulnerability.
 
When we focusing on how to make particular areas safer, prevent women and girls from being hurt in public areas, we could also think about how women and girls react to the sexual assaults from people they know or trust, how to prevent this “unprepared hurt”. Especially for girls, offenders even don’t need to use physical force, because girls are lacking of sex knowledge and easily trusting someone they are familiar with. 

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