Myths vs Reality on Sexual Assault

Myth: Sexual assault can't happen to me
Reality: Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault regardless of race, gender, age, socioeconomic status, religious orientation, and sexual orientation. Statistically, 1 in 4 female and 1 in 10 males will be sexually assaulted.

Myth: I don't know anyone who's ever been raped.
Reality: 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during their college career. If you know more than 4 women, chances are, you know a victim of sexual assault. Because the majority of victims never report the assault, you may not know that rape victims are students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, military personnel, or anyone else.

Myth: Sexual violence can sometimes be the victim's fault.
Reality: Sexual violence is NEVER the victim's fault, regardless of if the victims was wearing "seductive" clothing, drinking, using drugs, out on a date, whether they went up to the attackers room, alone, etc. The perpetrator is the one to blame.

Myth: Rape doesn't happen very often.
Reality: 1 out of every 4 female college students and 1 out of 10 males has been the victim of a sexual assault.

Myth: Rape is "no big deal."
Reality: About 33% of women require medical care following a sexual assault/rape. Victims also suffer from a variety of mental health consequences (depression, sleeplessness, anxiety) and are more likely to engage in harmful behaviors such as drinking or using drugs to cope with the traumatic event.

Myth: Rape/sexual assaults are committed by individuals who are "turned on" and have uncontrollable act sexual urges
Reality: Rape is a crime and is an act of violence, power, and control and does not arise out of passion or sexual gratification. Sexual excitement never justifies forced sex.

Myth: If a woman does not look like a rape victim, she really has not been raped.
Reality: Most sexual assault victims on college campuses show no outward signs of victimization (bruises, cuts, blood, torn clothing, etc). Most often, weapons are not present but coercive tactics and threats are utilized to perpetrate a sexual assault. Just because you have no outward signs of a rape or sexual assault does not mean that you are not a "real victim". Please seek help.

Myth: Most rapes are committed by strangers
Reality: Over 85% of sexual assaults on college campuses are perpetrated by someone you know (friend, classmate, boyfriend, date, etc).

Myth: No one can be raped against his or her will.
Reality: No matter how big or small or tough someone is, rapists use force, manipulation, intimidation, and threats to perpetrate a sexual assault.

Myth: When a woman says "no," she means yes.
Reality: "No" means "No" - period.

Myth: Women "cry rape" to get even with men or to protect their reputations.
Reality: Less than 4% of rape reports are believed to be false. Filing a false police report is a violation of the criminal law. The aftermath of a sexual assault (ensuing medical and legal processes) is traumatic for victims. Rarely are false allegations of rape ever made.

Myth: If people are dating or are in an ongoing sexual relationship, it's not rape.
Reality: Previous sexual contact does not grant consent for any future sexual activity at any time, regardless of the nature of the relationship.

Myth: Most rapes are interracial (someone from a race different than your own)
Reality: Statistics show that you are much more likely to be raped by a person of the same racial background.

Myth: A person who has really been sexually assaulted will be hysterical.
Reality: Sexual assault victims have multiple reactions and responses to the assault. There is no "right way" to react to sexual assault. Some victims may appear calm and withdrawn, while others appear to be angry, in denial, or in shock.

Myth: Talking about it only makes it worse.
Reality: Allowing victims of sexual assault to discuss the assault will help them heal and is an essential part of the healing process. Sexual Assault victims should never be forced to talk, but if a victim discloses the assault to you, please listen.

Myth: Men can't be sexually assaulted.
Reality: Men can and are victims of sexual assault regardless of their size, strength, or sexual orientation.

Myth: Only gay men are sexually assaulted.
Reality: Heterosexual, gay and bisexual men are equally likely to be sexually assaulted. Sexual victimization is unrelated to sexual orientation.

Myth: Only gay men sexually assault other men.
Reality: The majority of sexual assault perpetrators identify themselves as heterosexual.

Myth: Erection/ejaculation/orgasm during a sexual assault means you "wanted it" "enjoyed it" or "consented" to it.
Reality: Erection and ejaculation are simply physiological responses to physical contact and stress. These responses do not imply that you wanted or enjoyed the assault and do not indicate anything about your sexual orientation.

(Taken from the University of Texas at Arlington.)


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