Sexual Assault and Dating Violence
What Is Sexual Assault?
Myths About Rape and Sexual Assault
RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT
ARE CRIMES OF OPPORTUNITY.
SUCH CRIMES CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE.
Several myths exist about sexual assault and rape. These myths often shift responsibility, blame or focus from the assailant to the victim. Understanding the myths surrounding sexual assault and rape may help you in your recovery, help you to protect yourself or help you to be more supportive of a friend.
- MYTH: Most rapes are crimes of passion.
- FACT: Most rapes are planned, often for as little as a few minutes. Rape is an act of entitlement which is less about sexual desire and more about power and control.
- MYTH: Rapists are mentally ill or psychotic and cannot help themselves.
- FACT: Very few people who commit sexual assault are mentally incompetent and/or out of touch with reality.
- MYTH: Women who don't fight back haven't been raped.
- FACT: Rape occurs when you are forced to have sex against your will – whether you fight back or not.
- MYTH: If a woman shows interest or goes out with someone, she owes that person sex.
- FACT: No one owes sex to anyone, regardless of how interested they seem or how much money is spent on dinner, a movie, drinks or anything else.
- MYTH: Most women make up stories about being raped. They lie about it to friends and acquaintances.
- FACT: Very few people make up stories about rape. Rape happens to people you know, is perpetrated by people you know, and could happen to you or someone you know. Over 60% of all rapes or sexual assaults are NOT reported to the police.
- MYTH: Intimate kissing or certain kinds of touching mean sex is inevitable…things were going too far and I just gave in, I couldn't say no.
- FACT: Everyone has a right to say NO at any point. When someone says NO, sexual activity should stop. Giving in does not mean consent is given.
- MYTH: The victim must have "asked for it" by being seductive, careless, drunk, high, etc.
- FACT: No one asks to be abused, injured, or humiliated. This line of thought focuses on blaming the victim instead focusing on the assailant. An assailant makes the choice to commit a crime while ignoring the victim's wishes. Criminal behavior is not justified by believing that someone "asked for it."
- MYTH: If people would just stop drinking so much, they wouldn't be sexually assaulted.
- FACT: Alcohol is a weapon that some assailants use to control the victim and render that person helpless. An assailant will encourage the victim to use alcohol, or identify an individual who is already drunk in a calculated attempt to isolate someone who is vulnerable. Alcohol is not a cause of sexual assault; it is just one of many tools that assailants use. Sexual assault also occurs in the absence of alcohol.
- MYTH: Rape is committed by strangers jumping out of bushes or dark alleys.
- FACT: Between 66 and 75% of victims know their assailants. The assailant is usually not a stranger. Instead he/she is an acquaintance, a date, a boss, a friend, a partner, a wife, a husband, a neighbor, a relative, someone you met at a bar, someone you kissed only once, or someone you met at a party.
- MYTH: Men can't be raped.
- FACT: Anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or sexual orientation, can become a victim of sexual assault or rape.
If you have been sexually assaulted,
what happened to you is a CRIME.
IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.