Myths and Facts


Myth: Victims provoke sexual assaults when they dress provocatively or act in a promiscuous manner.

Fact: Rape and sexual assault are crimes of violence and control that stem from a person’s determination to exercise power over another. Nobody asks to be sexually assaulted no matter how they are dressed or how they are acting, and it is never justification for another individual to decide to sexually assault them. The only person responsible for rape is the rapist.

Myth: Sexual assault is committed by ‘perverts’ lurking in dark alleys or jumping out of bushes.

Fact: There is no typical rapist. Studies show that men who commit sexual violence come from every economic, ethnic, racial, age and social group. 85% of rapists are men known to their victims. In addition to this most sexual assaults occur in the home of either the perpetrator or victim.
Myth: Only certain types of men and women are raped. Fact: Women, men, girls and boys of all ages, social classes and backgrounds are raped. It can happen to anyone.

Myth: People who don’t fight back or get hurt haven’t really been sexually assaulted.

Fact: A person might not fight back for a number of reasons. People who rape or sexually assault others will often use weapons or threats of violence to intimidate them. The most common reaction to any life threatening situation is to freeze. The fact that there is no visible evidence of violence does not mean that a person has not been raped.

Myth: Once a man is sexually aroused he cannot help himself.  He has to have sex.

Fact: Studies show that most rapes are premeditated i.e. they are either wholly or partially planned in advance. All rapes committed by more than one assailant are always planned. Men can quite easily control their urges to have sex – they do not need to rape someone to satisfy them. Rape is an act of violence – not sexual gratification. Men who rape or sexually assault do so to dominate, violate and control.

Myth: A person who has been sexually assaulted will be hysterical.

Fact: Victims of sexual violence exhibit a spectrum of responses to the assault which can include calm, hysteria, withdrawal, anger, apathy, denial and shock. Being raped or sexually assaulted is a very traumatic experience. Reactions to the assault and the length of time needed to process through the experience vary with each person. There is no ‘right way’ to react to being raped or sexually assaulted.
Myth: A rapist is a stranger. Fact: More than 9 out of 10 rapes involve an attack by someone the victim knows; for example, friend, lover, colleague, spouse, partner or ex- partner.