How can a parent seriously disbelieve claims of sexual abuse?

I’v had no firsthand experience with child molestors. To the best of my knowledge, neither did any of my friends or relatives. And, thank God, neither has my 10 year old son.

If my son had ever told me about an incident in which an adult male had sexually assaulted him, I would believe my son and I would take action. There’d be no “denial.” At 10, nearly 11, my son is old enough to know and desribe what happens to him, and reliably differentiate fantasy from reality.

That said, I have seen too many cases like that of the McMartin preschool, in which kids eventually told stories far too crazy to be believed. LITTLE kids, in those cases, were coached and prompted to the poiint at which they told ridiculously implausible stoies of pornography and Satanic abuse.

I am NOT saying there was absolutely no abuse in any of those situations- I’m quite open to the possibility that one or more kids at the McMartin preschool WAS molested by Raymond Buckey… but in the end, ALL testimony was so contaminated that it couldn’t be taken seriously.

When kids tell us things, we HAVE to listen and take them seriously. But kids CAN lie, and sometimes do. Sometimes they do so to avoid getting in trouble. Sometimes, they want to score brownie points by telling us adults what they think we want to hear. It’s equally stupid to assume everything kids tell us is true AND to dismiss what they tell us as sheer fantasy.