Myth: Someone who was drinking or drunk when sexually assaulted is at least partially to blame.
Reality: Sexual assault survivors are never responsible for the attack, no matter what, no matter how much alcohol was consumed. Responsibility lies with the perpetrator; the survivor is never responsible for the assailant’s behavior. Alcohol may increase the risk of sexual assault, and may make someone incapable of giving consent or protecting themselves, but it is not the cause of the assault.
Myth: It’s not rape if the couple is dating or is married.
Reality: Unwanted sexual activity in any relationship qualifies as sexual assault.
Myth: Most victims are raped by strangers, in unfamiliar places or on dark nights. Reality: It is estimated that 80-85% of rapists are known to the adult they attack. “Acquaintance rape” by a friend, new acquaintance, or coworker is frequent, particularly among young, single women. Statistics show that 50% of sexual assaults occur in or around a woman’s home, 50% during the day.
Myth: Women often falsely accuse men of sexual assault or rape (for example, to get back at them, or because they regret or feel guilty about having sex).
Reality: Nearly all rapes are truthfully reported, and, in fact, rapes are vastly underreported.
Myth: Rape has to do with sex and passion.
Reality: Rape has to do with interpersonal violence.
Myth: Rapists have psychological problems.
Reality: Most assailants are males with no history of mental disorder.
Myth: Perpetrators of sexual assault come largely from certain races or backgrounds. Reality: Men and women of all races, ethnicities, ages, sexual orientations, economic and social classes are represented among assailants.
Myth: Only young women are at risk.
Reality: Women of all ages are at risk, and 1 in 4 women will be assaulted in the course of her lifetime.
Myth: If the victim didn’t fight or try to run away, or there was no weapon or injuries sustained, rape did not occur.
Reality: Threats of violence are a weapon, and a woman may not resist vigorously for fear of injury or death.