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Myth 9: Boys are always severely harmed by sexual activity with adults.


Researchers seem to agree that there is no set of reactions that is a single inevitable outcome of adult-minor sexual interaction, such as some sort of personality disorder. Negative outcomes seem to be associated with the following:34

Researchers write:

Thomas D. Oellerich, Department of Social Work, Ohio University:

The notion that child sexual abuse is a "destroyer" of mental health has been based largely on studies involving clinical samples. But even these, if objectively considered, indicated that child sexual abuse is neither necessarily nor usually psychologically harmful. That is, for the vast majority child sexual abuse is not a "destroyer" of mental health at any age...the widespread belief that child sexual abuse necessarily and usually causes psychological damage is a myth.35

• For more information, see the section on this site about effects of adult-minor sexual interaction.

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33. Beitchman et al., 1991; Beitchman et al., 1992; Bernard, 1981; Constantine, 1981; Fergusson & Mullen, 1999; Fromuth & Burkhart, 1989; Haugaard & Emery, 1989; Li, 1990a; Ney et al., 1994; Oellerich, 2001*; Rind et al., 1998; Rind & Tromovitch, 1997; West & Woodhouse, 1990.

34. Beitchman et al., 1992; Constantine, 1981; Fergusson & Mullen, 1999; Ingram, 1981; Kilpatrick, 1987; West & Woodhouse, 1990.

35. Oellerich, 2001*.

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