When it comes to sex crimes in the United States and in Illinois, people make a lot of assumptions. Often, these assumptions are based on bad information.
Sex crimes are a serious matter, and those who are convicted of them are penalized quite significantly by the state. But it’s still important to understand what you may have wrong about sex offenses and sex offenders in Illinois.
Here are some of the biggest myths about sex offenses and sex offenders – and the truth behind the myths.
Myth No. 1: Sex Offenders are Men
This is one of the biggest myths out there about sex offenders: That only men perpetrate sex crimes. Thinking about this critically should allow most people to understand that it’s not correct, but the facts also back it up. Sex crimes committed against others, even children, can be perpetrated by anyone, regardless of whether they are male or female. In fact, some studies have found that around 20 percent of sex crimes against children are perpetrated by women.
Myth No. 2: Sex Abuse is Committed by Strangers
It’s a sad fact that most of the sexual abuse suffered by children happens at the hands of someone they know. Strangers rarely commit sexual abuse on children they don’t know. Studies have found that over 90 percent of the sexual abuse cases perpetrated are perpetrated by a family member, friend, neighbor, or babysitter. In other words, it’s someone the child knows and trusts.
Myth No. 3: Victims Don’t Lie
This is a dangerous myth because it states that those who are victims of sex abuse wouldn’t lie about it. But the fact of the matter is that sometimes victims do misinterpret things or misrepresent the facts in a case. Sometimes they simply make things up in order to get attention or get revenge against someone. Those things do happen – but it’s also important to understand that it’s not the norm.
It’s estimated that somewhere around 10 percent of reports of child sexual abuse or rape are false. That’s why it’s vital to have an experienced attorney on your side if the allegations against you fall into that category.
Myth No. 4: Sexual Abuse is Violent
Many people assume that sex crimes involve force of some kind. While it may be true that crimes involving children don’t involve consent, because they are not of age to give it, that doesn’t mean that threats, violence, or force are used when the crime occurs. Many sex abusers use deception or enticement to gain access to their victims. Force isn’t used very often.
Myth No. 5: Once a Person is a Sex Offender, They’re Always a Sex Offender
Another prevailing myth about sex offenders is that it is inevitable that they will offend again. Some sex offenders do re-offend, but there are many who do not. It’s unfair to assume that someone convicted of a sex crime will eventually do it again. It is possible to get help and use tools gained through treatment to prevent yourself from reoffending.
Myth No. 6: If You Hire an Attorney, It Makes You Look Guilty
It is your right to seek representation when you’re accused of a crime. Hiring a lawyer doesn’t make you look guilty to the court – it makes you look like someone who is taking advantage of their constitutional rights to ensure that they get a fair trial. If you’re accused of something as serious as a sex crime, then you need representation.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by Avvo (2013 and 2018), SuperLawyers (2015-2020), The National Trial Lawyers, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.