Myth vs. Truth

Myth: Rape doesn’t happen very often.
Truth: 1 in 5 women reported she had been raped or physically or sexually assaulted in her lifetime (Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, May 1999).

Myth: Women lead men on. Sometimes they are just asking to be raped.
Truth: No one ever asks to be raped. Forcing someone to engage in sexual activity against his or her will is sexual assault – regardless of the way that person dresses or acts.

Myth: Women encourage rape by wearing sexy, suggestive clothing. If you dress conservatively you are less likely to be raped.
Truth: Research consistently shows that rape is about a rapist’s need to feel power and control, not what a rape victim wears. In fact, women and girls have been raped while wearing everything from pajamas to business suits.

Myth: A woman cannot be raped if she wears jeans because she would have to help remove them.
Truth: Dress or behavior can never be a justification for an assault on another.

Myth: Most rapes occur in a dark alley by a stranger.
Truth: 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger, 38% were a friend or acquaintance of the victim, 28% were an intimate partner and 7% were another relative (National Crime Victimization Survey, 2005).

Myth: If a women consents to sex with someone once, she can’t be raped by him. If she knows or is in a relationship with him, she can’t be raped.
Truth: Rape is coerced sex committed against someone’s will, regardless of any existing or previous relationship between the rapist and the victim.

Myth: He’s rich, good looking and an athlete. Anyone would want to be with him. He couldn’t be a rapist.
Truth: Convicted rapists and murderers who rape, come from all backgrounds, can look like anyone, are frequently married or with steady partner and some are athletes. Money and success do not guarantee that someone is not a rapist.

Myth: It’s okay for a man to force a woman to have sex with him if she makes him excited.
Truth: This attitude suggests that men are not capable of controlling themselves and it is her fault that he cannot do so. It further suggests that females must ultimately bear the responsibility and actions of male sexual urges.

Myth: There is a “right way” to respond to rape. Anyone can prevent rape if they really wanted to. No one can be raped against his or her will.
Truth: Rape is a violent crime committed by someone who may seem “normal” or charming and may be known to the victim. The rapist chooses the time and method of the attack, not the victim. Rape victims have fought back and broken free, but a rape victim’s first priority is to survive.

Myth: Men can’t be raped.
Truth: In 2003, one in every ten rape victims were male. (2003 National Crime Victimization Study)

Myth: I don’t know anyone who’s ever been raped.
Truth: Rape victims are doctors, lawyers, nurses, military personnel, cooks, accountants or anyone. Less than one-third of rape and sexual assaults are reported to the police.