September 25, 2007 at 2:22 am (community response)

RAPE MYTHS

Myth: Sexual assault is an impulsive, uncontrollable act of passion. The victim is
irresistible to the rapist.
Fact: Rape is an act of violence, not of sexual desire. The majority of rapes are planned:
the place arranged, enticement used, or the victim deliberately sought and coerced into
sexual relations.
It is the vulnerability of the victim that attracts the sexual predator. Victims range from
infants to the elderly. Anyone, regardless of age, sex, physical appearance, marital status,
ethnic, religious or socio-economic background can be raped.

Myth: Women are sexually assaulted when they are out alone at night. If women
stay home they will be safe.
Fact: Studies show that the majority of sexual assaults are committed in either the
victim’s home or the offender’s home.

Myth: Most rapists hide in dark alleys, waiting for a stranger to walk past.
Facts: The majority of reported rapes occur either in the victim’s home or the home of
the attacker. In many cases, the victim met the offender in a public place and then was
coerced into accompanying the rapist to the place of the assault.
Most rape victims know their attacker at least casually. In many cases, offenders were
well known to the victim and were in relationships that one would normally trust, i.e.
boyfriend, family friend, close neighbor or relative.

Myth: Most rapists are poor.
Fact: Rape crosses all class lines. People have been raped by doctors, lawyers, police
officers, and other authority figures. Because of their social and financial positions, these
offenders are seldom prosecuted for the acts of violence, and their actions are seldom
publicized.

Myth: No person can be sexually assaulted against his or her will.
Fact: Rape is a crime of violence, not sexual passion. In many cases, some type of
force is used, such as choking, beating, roughness, or use of a weapon. Often, the victim
is threatened with death if he or she resists. Confronted with the fear of being beaten or
killed, many victims do not attempt to fight an attacker. While a victim may not resist an
attack due to socialization and fear of violence, this lack of resistance should not be
equated with consent for the attack. Many mugging victims hand over their wallets
willingly to maintain their safety, but they did not ask to be mugged.

Myth: Sexual assault is provoked by the victim. Victims ask for it by their actions,
behaviors, or by the way they dress.
Fact: To say that someone wants to be raped is the same as saying that people ask to be
mugged or robbed. In fact, most rapes are at least partially planned in advance and the
victim is often threatened with death or bodily harm if he or she resists. Sexual assault is
not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. It is a violent attack on an individual using
sex as a weapon. Sex is used to defile, degrade and destroy a victim’s will and control
over his or her own body. For the victim, it is a humiliating, near death situation. No
person would ask for or deserve such an attack.

Myth: Only “bad girls” get sexually assaulted.
Fact: Sexual assault occurs in all segments of our society. Most rapists choose their
targets without regard to physical appearance or lifestyle. Victims are of every type,
race, and socio-economic class, young and old alike.

Myth: Most rapes are reported by women who “change their minds” afterwards or
who want to “get even” with a man.
Fact: FBI statistics show that only 3% of rape calls are false reports. This is the same
false-report rate that is usual for other kinds of felonies.

Myth: Women have rape fantasies and secretly desire rape. If you are going to be
raped, you might as well relax and enjoy it.
Janet Meyer, M.A. 11/22/00 Page 3
Fact: When people have sexual fantasies of seduction, they choose the circumstances
and characteristics of their seducer. They are in control. In rape, the victim is never in
control. There is a big difference between fantasy and reality.
Rape is neither relaxing nor enjoyable. Again, victims often submit without struggle due
to fear of physical force, or because the assailant is armed with a deadly weapon.
Victims’ responses to rape reflect the violence and intense trauma of the event. After
being raped:
42% reported feeling afraid of men.
28% said it affected their sex lives.
27% felt less independent or more afraid of being on their own.
28% said it damaged their trust in male-female relationships.
18% felt worthless or lost self-respect.
17% felt hostile toward men.
10% sustained physical injuries.
7% reported suicidal impulses.
5% suffered nightmares.

Myth: Rapists are crazy, deranged, abnormal perverts. They are lonely men
without female partnership.
Fact: Rape is not a crime of spontaneous passion. Studies show that 60 to 70% of all
sexual assaults are planned. Most rapists are married and having consensual sexual
relations while assaulting other women. Rapists themselves do not describe their
motivation in terms of sexual gratification, but in terms of hatred and conquest. Sex is
used as a weapon to inflict violence, humiliation, and degradation on a victim. Indeed,
rapists have said that rape is “lousy sex.”
Sexual offenders come from all educational, occupational, racial and cultural
backgrounds. They tend to test differently from the normal, well-adjusted male only in
having a greater tendency to express violence and rage.

Myth: Men cannot be raped.
Fact: Sexual assault, no matter the gender of the perpetrator or victim, is a form of
violence where sex is used to demean and humiliate another person. Current statistics
indicate that one in six men are sexually assaulted or abused in their lifetime. Typically,
the perpetrator is a heterosexual male. Sexual assault of males is thought to be greatly
underreported.

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