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Myths About Sexual Assault

Most rapists are strangers. – FALSE
When most people think about how rapes occur, they imagine desolate dark alleyways late at night and the attacker being a stranger. The truth is the majority of people who commit rape know their victims. They may be relatives, friends or work colleagues.

Men cannot be sexually assaulted. – FALSE
Assault by penetration: A person commits assault by penetration if he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person with a part of the body or anything else, without their consent.

She/he was raped because of the way they were dancing and the way they were dressed. – FALSE
The way a person dresses or dances does not cause rape. The cause for rape lies with the person committing the rape.

Male rape is a gay crime. – FALSE
Sexual assault is ultimately about power, control or domination of the other person, rather than a sexual attraction to one specific gender.

All rape victims have injuries. – FALSE
Rape victims' experiences are different. The scars may be emotional or physical.

A rape victim always needs to say "NO" to show they don't consent. – FALSE
There is a presumption that all rape victims need to say the word "no" to state that they do not consent to sex. The reality is that some victims will "freeze" during an attack. This is sometimes due to shock or fear of the attacker.

The police won't believe me. – FALSE
The police take ALL rape and sexual assault reports seriously. No matter who you are, how long ago the assault happened, or how it took place, the police are committed to listening, understanding and helping you through this difficult time while ALWAYS listening to and respecting your wishes.

Rape cannot happen between husband and wife. – FALSE
Rape within marriages and relationships, whether straight or gay, do occur. If your partner or spouse has forced you into having sex, it's a crime.

Most healthy people will return to a normal state of functioning within a year. – FALSE
Surviving a rape can lead a woman to a better understanding of her own strength, but rape is a life changing experience. Rape has a devastating effect on the mental health of victims, with nearly one-third (31 percent) of all rape victims developing Rape-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (RR-PTSD) some time in their lifetimes. More than one in 10 rape victims currently suffer from RR-PTSD (Source: National Victim Center and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center).

You can tell a rapist by the way he looks. – FALSE
Rapists are not physically identifiable. They may appear friendly, normal, and non-threatening. Many are young, married and have children.

Rape is just unwanted sex and isn't really a violent crime. – FALSE
Rape is a lot more than an unwanted sex act. It is a violent act, whether or not the rapist carried a weapon or made threats, or inflicted visible signs of abuse.

Rape only occurs outside and at night. – FALSE
Rape can and does occur anytime and anyplace. Many rapes occur during the day and in the victims' homes.

Unless a weapon is used, it isn't rape. – FALSE
Anytime you engage in any type of sexual activity without your consent - it's a crime. Rape may result from intimidation, drugs, alcohol, or a victim's own diminished mental capacity.

If he bought dinner, she "owes" him sex. – FALSE
No one "owes" sex for anything.