Council on Sex Offender Treatment Treatment of Sex Offenders - Common Myths

Common Myths about Sex Offenders

Myth: “Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers”
Fact: Approximately 80% of all sexual assault victims were abused by someone
known to the victim. Only four percent (4%) of sexual assaults are
committed by a stranger (Focus Adolescent Services).
Myth: “Children who are sexually assaulted will sexually assault others
when they grow up.”
Fact: Approximately 70% of all adult sex offenders were not sexually abused as
a child.
Myth: “Castration cures a sex offender.”
Fact: Castration is not a cure. Castration only reduces testosterone levels and
may be helpful in controlling arousal and libido. Physical or chemical castration should only be utilized as an adjunct to treatment and not in lieu of treatment. It should be remembered that deviant arousal is the physical response to a cognitive process (deviant thoughts). Deviant thoughts (impulses) and fantasies are precursors to deviant arousal.
Myth: “All sex offenders are sexual sadists”.
Fact: A sexual sadist gains a feeling of sexual pleasure by humiliating and by
inflicting pain on the victim. Research indicates only 2-5% of sex offenders are sadists (Langevin, 1990).
Myth: “All sex offenders are psychopaths”.
Fact: Research conducted by Dr. Robert Hare indicated that only 15-25% of the
incarcerated population are psychopaths.

Last updated April 5, 2010