Every 98 seconds a person is sexually assaulted, this includes; women, children and men. There are many myths about sexual assault, educating yourself on the facts is an important step in raising awareness and increasing understanding. Read below, then share with a friend to help educate them. Contact The Shelter, 800-931-7233 to speak with an advocate.
Myth: The primary motive for rape is sexual.
Fact: The motive for rape is aggression and power, not sex. Rapists have a desire to dominate, humiliate, and degrade their victims. Rape is not the result of “pent up” sexual desire. Many offenders report that they do not enjoy the sex act per se’, in fact, most offenders have access to a sexual relationship with a lover.
Myth: Women are sexually assaulted because they “ask for it” in some way.
Fact: Attempts to shift the burden of blame from the offender to the victim by implying that “she asked for it” are common. There is nothing a person can do to “deserve” a sexual assault. By blaming the victim, the attention is directed away from the offender, diminishing the offender’s responsibility for the attack.
Myth: A person can nearly always prevent an assault by resisting the attacker.
Fact: Every sexual assault is unique and the issue of resistance should be evaluated individually. Resistance could deter an attack, or it could increase the chance of injury and perhaps result in death. The victim needs to do whatever they feel comfortable doing, and rely on their instincts. Even if they must submit, this does not imply consent, and may keep them alive.
Myth: Many women falsely report rape as a means of revenge or to get attention.
Fact: Reported sexual assaults are true, with very few exceptions. FBI crime statistics indicate that the false report rate for assault to be only 2%.
Myth: Rapists are easily identifiable by their physical appearance, actions, or words.
Fact: There is no standard for mental or physical profile that defines a rapist. A rapist can be someone of any age, race, economic background, belief system, gender, or culture.
Although our society has a stereotype of the deranged stranger rapist, stranger rapes only make up 20% of all sexual assaults. Most rapes are by a family member, or close friend.
Myth: Woman owe men sex under some circumstances.
Fact: Sex is not a commodity to be bought and sold, nor is there ownership of another’s sexuality. Instead, as human beings we should have the freedom to make sexual choices regardless of the circumstances. Paying for dinner and a movie does not give someone the right to demand sex for repayment, nor should someone feel obligated to have sex because of these circumstances.
Myth: Only women can be raped.
Fact: Men can be and are sexually assaulted every day. The FBI estimated that 1 in 10 men will be victimized in their lifetime. The national average is estimated at 7%.
Myth: Women don’t rape men.
Fact: Women can and do commit rape of men, although this seems much less common. Sexual assault of a man by one or more women is just as serious as any other type of violation of any other victim.
Myth: Men who rape other men are gay & victims of male rape must be gay.
Fact: Rape is not about sexual preference or desire, it is an act of power and control. A survey of convicted rapists found that at least half of these men did not care about the sex if their victim.
Both straight and gay men can be raped.
Myth: Rape is something that doesn’t happen to “real men”.
Fact: Rape is something that can and does happen to an entire spectrum of men, regardless of physical strength or fighting prowess. Rape does not mean that the survivor is weak or a “wimp”. Size and strength are often no match for weapons, overwhelming odds, or surprise attack.
Myth: A man cannot have an erection if frightened.
Fact: All studies so far have found that victims commonly do report erections and ejaculation during even the most vicious attacks. These are uncontrollable automatic physiological responses, and do not mean the victim enjoyed the experience.
Myth: There is nothing a man can do to help another man who has been victimized by rape.
Fact: Like the women’s movement, a movement among men toward supporting and helping one another will be a giant step in beginning to effectively address the needs of male victims. Exposing myths and disseminating the facts about male rape is a first step in this direction.
The Shelter is dedicated to helping raise awareness and provide support for issues like sexual assault, if you or someone you know has been impacted please contact The Shelter 800-931-7233.
In an emergency dial 9-1-1.