This article will explore the perception of individuals associated with civil society and working in Boko Haram–affected areas. This will compare the reality as reflected by former Boko Haram members. Central to this analysis will be who, why, and how individuals get involved in Boko Haram. Comparing perceptions with empirical evidence, civil society actors, but also policymakers tasked with addressing violent extremism, are reminded not to rely on perceptions when developing and implementing preventative measures and countermeasures. Additionally, a larger than expected former female Boko Haram sample was included that allowed a comparison to be made between the male and female samples, with specific reference to why and how women became members of Boko Haram.