Jerry Sandusky's Alleged Victims Tell of Shame, Fear, Love


Those feelings are not uncommon, Cohen said, but they are often balanced by fear when their abusers use threats against them or their families to keep them quiet.

"Particularly if the abuser is powerful, physically or in terms of their social standing, often the child believes them when they say no one will believe you or no one will help you," Cohen said.

Experts said it's important for parents, guardians or other adults to let children know that they can and should feel safe speaking up when anyone touches them inappropriately or makes them uncomfortable. Also, having frank, specific conversations about what kinds of touches or activities are not appropriate is important for preventing sexual abuse, especially for children who may be vulnerable.

But ultimately, Kaslow said factors that may or may not make a child vulnerable to abuse are irrelevant.

"It doesn't matter what factors the child may bring to the situation, it is never his or her fault or responsibility," she said.

ABC News' Colleen Curry contributed to this report

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