Myth: “Stranger rape” is very common.
Truth: Over 90% of victims know the person who assaulted them.
Myth: Only women can be sexually assaulted, and women cannot sexually assault others.
Truth: 1 in 6 men will be victims of sexual assault before their 18th birthday. Although 95% of perpetrators of sexual violence are male, men can certainly be victimized by either a male or female. We must take men seriously when they claim to be victims of sexual assault, and not make judgements about their sexuality or “manliness.”
Myth: Sexual assault occurs when someone is simply unable to control their lust of need for sexual gratification. Men cannot stop themselves once they become aroused or start engaging in sexual activity.
Truth: Sexual assault is about power and control. Rapists have access to consensual sex, but it is not the same “thrill.” Becoming sexually aroused, or even starting a sexual act, does not mean that someone has no control over their behavior.
Myth: People who get really drunk at parties deserve what happened to them.
Truth: NO ONE deserves to be raped. Instead of holding people responsible for having fun, we need to hold rapists accountable for taking advantage of people who legally cannot consent in the first place.
Myth: If a woman dresses provocatively or goes somewhere along with a man, she wants to have sex with him.
Truth: Wanting to be alone with someone or get to know them better does not equal automatic consent for sex. No one is “asking for sex” unless they are verbally expressing their desire for it.
Myth: Women like to “cry rape” after they have sex that they regret. Many women lie about being raped.
Truth: Only 2-4% of all cases are found to be false reports. This is about the same as other violent crimes. We don’t question victims of other crimes, and need to have the same respect for victims of sexual assault. If someone says they were taken advantage of, we need to believe them!
Myth: A woman can almost always prevent an assault by fighting back.
Truth: Everyone relies on instinct when they are going through a traumatic situation. Often, resisting an attack actually results in more violence. Alternatively, when we are in a crisis situation, we often freeze, which is a normal biological reaction. Victims should never be held responsible for an assault simply because they did not physically fight back.
Myth: When someone says no, they may actually mean yes.
Truth: When a person says “no” to sexual activity, we need to respect their wishes. Unless a person verbally says “YES” to sexual activity while they are in the right mind to consent, we must not proceed. Furthermore, anyone who changes their mind during a sexual act must also have their wishes respected. The other party must stop the sexual activity immediately.