Myths about Rape and Sexual Assault: Trigger Warning!

Did you see what she was wearing?  She shouldn’t have walked home alone!  She was so drunk

she could hardly stand, no wonder she was raped!  She was flirting with him all evening, what

did she expect?  Victim blaming is all too common in discussions surrounding rape and sexual

assault.  There is only one person to blame when it comes to all forms of sexual violence, and

that’s the perpetrator!

 

Below we dispel a few common myths!

 

Myth: The way someone dresses is often the reason they are raped or sexually assaulted.

Fact: False. No one has the right to rape or sexually assault a person, regardless of what

they wear. Clothing is not an incentive to undermine consent. Only the perpetrator is ever

responsible for sexual violence.

 

Myth: If a person did not scream, fight back or struggle, they wanted it.

Fact: False. The body responds in different ways to trauma. The body often freezes in the

moment. It is common for the victim to be disorientated, struggling to move, speak or think.

Some perpetrators threaten and intimidate their victims. If the victim did not freely consent

to the action, it is rape or sexual assault.

 

Myth: A male presenting victim was raped, but he had an erection, so he/she/they wanted

it.

Fact: False. The body responds to sexual stimulation. This might include an erection or, in

female presenting victims vaginal lubrication. This bodily response is not consent. If the

person did not explicitly agree and consent to the action, this is either sexual assault or

rape.

 

Myth: You can spot a rapist by the way they look, act, talk or walk.

Fact: False. Perpetrators can be anybody, from all walks of life. It is impossible to identify a

rapist by surface-layered actions.

 

Myth: It is not rape if the perpetrator has had sex with the victim before, or if they are in a

relationship.

Fact: Previous consent does not mean permanent consent. Consent needs to be

communicated with every sexual experience. Just because someone has had sex with you

before, does not automatically give them the right to your body in the future. If a spouse,

lover or partner forces sex or sexual acts upon another person against their will, it is either

sexual assault or rape.

 

Myth: If a person is drunk or under the influence of a substance, they are responsible for

getting raped – they should not have lost control and they should keep themselves safe.

Fact: False. A person has the right to consensual sexual engagement. Even if a person is not

fully comprehensive, no one is allowed to take advantage of them.

 

Myth: People who were sexually abused as children will most likely become perpetrators in

the future.

Fact: False. This is a dangerous myth that might be used by perpetrators to excuse their

actions. Note that there is never any excuse for sexual violence against another person.

 

Myth: Men cannot get raped.

Fact: False. Men, boys and persons with male sexual organs can get raped and sexually

assaulted. If a person, regardless of their sex or sexual organs, are forced into sex or a sex

act without their freely given consent, this is rape.

 

Myth: Women cannot be rapists.

Fact: False. Any person, regardless of their sex or gender can force another person into sex

or sex acts. If consent is not freely given by the victim, this is rape.

 

Myth: A person’s sexual orientation can be changed through rape.

Fact: False. Sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed through any physical,

sexual, spiritual or psychological process. A person’s sexual orientation is as part of their

DNA as their eye colour. By forcing someone to have sex with someone to try and change

their sexual orientation will only traumatise the individual. Whether the victim is the same,

or a different gender to the perpetrator, it cannot change their sexual orientation.

 

Myth: Men and boys just cannot control their sexual urges, so it is not their fault if they rape

or sexually assault someone.

Fact: All sexes are responsible for their actions when it comes to sexual assault and rape. There

is no leniency toward one sex due to the idea that they cannot control their sexual urges. Rape

or sexual assault is a choice made by the perpetrator, and it is not an acceptable choice to make.

Consent should always be freely given by all parties involved in sexual activities.

 

Myth: Rape is an act of lust and passion that cannot be controlled.

Fact: Rape and sexual assault is more often about power and control than about

gratification. Rape can also never be downplayed by the idea that lust and passion override

the person’s agency for choice.

 

Myth: People with disabilities are not at risk for rape and sexual assault.

Fact: People with disabilities are most definitely at risk for rape and sexual assault.

 

REFERENCES

 

Birch, J., 2021. What you need to know about getting help if you’ve been sexually assaulted. [online] Teen Vogue. Available at: <https://www.teenvogue.com/story/sexual-assault-help> [Accessed 25 January 2021].

 

College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University. 2021. Sexual Assault Survivor’s Guide – CSB/SJU. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.csbsju.edu/chp/sexual-assault-survivors-guide. [Accessed 29 January 2021].

 

College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University. 2021. Sexual Assault Survivor’s Guide – CSB/SJU. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.csbsju.edu/chp/sexual-assault-survivors-guide#GettingBackOnTrack. [Accessed 31 January 2021].

 

Melinda. 2021. Recovering from Rape and Sexual Trauma – HelpGuide.org. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/recovering-from-rape-and-sexual-trauma.htm. [Accessed 27 January 2021].

 

Myths about rape | Rape Crisis England & Wales. 2021. Myths about rape | Rape Crisis England & Wales. [ONLINE] Available at: https://rapecrisis.org.uk/get-informed/about-sexual-violence/myths-vs-realities/. [Accessed 27 January 2021].

 

nhs.uk. 2021. Help after rape and sexual assault – NHS. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/help-after-rape-and-sexual-assault/. [Accessed 29 January 2021].

 

Rape and Sexual Assault. 2021. Rape and Sexual Assault. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/rape-and-sexual-assault/. [Accessed 28 January 2021].

 

Rape and sexual assault – Citizens Advice . 2021. Rape and sexual assault – Citizens Advice . [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/gender-violence/rape-and-sexual-assault/. [Accessed 29 January 2021].

 

Rikosuhripäivystys. 2021. Advice for victims of rape – Rikosuhripäivystys. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.riku.fi/en/guides-and-instructions/advice-for-victims-of-rape/. [Accessed 25 January 2021].

 

South African Government. 2021. Where can I find an organisation that offers assistance to victims of violence? | South African Government. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.gov.za/faq/justice-and-crime-prevention/where-can-i-find-organisation-offers-assistance-victims-violence#. [Accessed 31 January 2021].

 

Tears Foundation. 2021. What to do if you are raped? – Tears Foundation. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.tears.co.za/what-to-do-if-you-are-raped/. [Accessed 31 January 2021].

Tags: 

Similar Articles