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Sexual Assault

Myths and Facts

Myth: It can’t happen to me.

Fact: Anyone can be sexually assaulted. Studies show that sexual assault happens to people of all ages, genders, ethnic/racial backgrounds, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Myth: Rape is caused by the victim. If a person flirts or wears sexy clothing, he or she is asking for it.

Fact: Rapists look for victims they perceive as vulnerable, not for people who dress in a particular way. Sexual assault is a crime of violence and control that stems from one person’s desire to exercise control over another. Neither provocative dress nor promiscuous behavior are invitations for unwanted sexual activity. Rapists cause rape.

Myth: Someone can only be sexually assaulted if a weapon is involved.

Fact: In many cases, a weapon is not involved. There are physical injuries in only about one-third of all reported cases of rape.

Myth: Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers.

Fact: More than 75 percent of reported rapes are between people that know each other. This includes partners, spouses, classmates, neighbors, relatives, and coworkers.

Myth: If the assailant, the victim, or both are drunk, then the assailant cannot be charged with sexual assault.

Fact: Forcing sex on someone who is too drunk to give consent is rape. People who commit crimes while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are not considered free from guilt.

Myth: Only women and gay men are sexually assaulted.

Fact: The vast majority of male victims, as well as their rapists, are heterosexual. Males make up approximately nine percent of all sexual assault victims.

Myth: A victim can’t say “no” midway.

Fact: A person can say “no” (revoke consent) at ANY time, for ANY reason.

Myth: It is not rape if it is a partner or spouse that does it.

Fact: Any individual has the right to decide what she or he does with her or his body at all times. If the person does not want to have sex, it is her or his decision, even if that individual willingly had sex with a person previously. All 50 states now have laws against rape in marriage.

Myth: Women report rapes to get even with men or to protect their reputations.

Fact: According to studies and data shared by the FBI, only two to four percent of reported rapes are false—the same percentage as the false reporting of other crimes.

Myth: The best way to deal with a sexual assault is to act like it never happened.

Fact: Speaking out about the sexual assault is a big part of the healing process. The trauma, fear, and guilt that may follow can cause more emotional damage later in life, so speaking out to those you trust is very important!