Rape Myths & Facts

What is a Myth?

A 'myth' is a commonly held belief, idea or explanation that is not true. Myths arise from people's need to make sense of acts that are senseless, violent or disturbing.


MYTH: Rape only happens to women

FACT: Men can be, and are, raped and sexually assaulted. Male rape is also not confined to homosexual relationships. Sexual assault is an act of violence, it's about power, control or domination of another person, rather than a sexual attraction to one specific gender. Research indicates that the majority of sexual offences committed on men are carried out by heterosexual men.


MYTH: Rape is most likely to be committed by a stranger in a dark alleyway

FACT: The majority of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. The truth is that 80% of women who are raped or sexually assaulted know their attackers and that 53% of assaults are committed by a current or ex partner.


MYTH: If the victim didn't scream, fight or get injured, it wasn't rape

FACT: Some sexual assaults do result in injury. However in traumatic situations it is a common response to freeze rather than fight, scream or run away. Many people assume they would be able to fight someone off if they were assaulted however the 'freeze and flop' reaction is an unconscious decision.

Male victims often feel particularly guilty about this but they shouldn't. It is entirely natural. Victims often ‘flop', a decision made by their sub-conscious brain in order that they will survive the threat. As a result there is often no sign of violence, torn clothing or witnesses who heard screaming.


MYTH: Lots of women falsely accuse men of rape

FACT: A major Office research project in 2000-2003 concluded that only three per cent of rape allegations were false. In fact, it is thought that only one fifth of actual rapes are reported to the police.


MYTH: Men or Women who drink, flirt or wear tight clothes are probably 'asking for it'

FACT: Drinking, flirting and/or wearing tight clothing is not a crime - Rape is. There is only one person to blame and that is the offender. Everyone has a right to enjoy themselves regards of their actions or what they are wearing. No means No.


MYTH: If a victim doesn't report to the police immediately it wasn't rape

FACT: Rape and sexual assault is under reported. The trauma of rape can cause feelings of shame and guilt which may dissuade a victim from reporting an assault to Police. We understand it takes a lot of courage to report an assault to the Police, Sexual Assault Referral Centre or to even disclose the assault to a friend or family member.


MYTH: Women do not sexually assault other woman

FACT: A woman cannot rape another woman as rape involves penile penetration. However women can, and do, commit assault by penetration and other forms of sexual assault. Female perpetrators, though less common, do exist and their crimes have the same devastating effect on the lives of their victims.


MYTH: It isn't rape if my partner has sex with me even when I have said no

FACT: Just because your in a relationship or married to someone it does not entitle them to have sex with you when they want. Sex without the consent of both parties is rape. Research shows that you are more likely to be sexually assaulted by a current or ex partner than a stranger.


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