Myths & Facts
Sexaul Assault: MYTHS vs. FACTS
As an advocate, you can bust any myth presented with the information on this page.
MYTH: Sexual assault is an act of lust and passion that can’t be controlled.
FACT: Sexual assault is an act of POWER and CONTROL. It has nothing to do with sexual attraction or desire, but with wanting to demean and overpower the victim. This is why attractive men, who could easily access consensual sex, can be perpetrators.
MYTH: If it was really sexual assault, the victim would have fought back.
FACT: Oftentimes, due to trauma’s effects on the brain, victims freeze when being assaulted. Victims may be afraid to fight back if the perpetrator is someone they know or trust, or if they are threatened.
A lot of victims lie about sexual assault. / Women make false reports against men to get attention?
False reports of sexual assault are exceedingly rare. About 3-7% of sexual assault reports are false, which is the same for any other crime. Sexual assault is actually the most underreported crime. Many survivors of sexual assault – both females and males – don’t report for a multitude of reasons, many of which stem from stigmatization. Reporting a sexual assault is a long, difficult process and one no person would willingly go through.
MYTH: Someone can’t sexually assault their partner or spouse.
FACT: Whether a perpetrator is a stranger or a spouse, anytime a person does not consent to sex, it is sexual assault. Sexual abuse can be a component of the power dynamic of domestic violence.
MYTH: If they were assaulted, why aren’t they hysterically crying?
FACT: Every victim will act differently after an assault. Trauma can affect behavior in counterintuitive ways. Victims may be angry, numb, nonchalant, depressed, or have any other reaction after an assault.
MYTH: Men, especially straight men, can’t be victims of sexual assault.
FACT: People of any gender and sexuality can be a victim of sexual assault, though cis and trans women and gender non-conforming people are particularly at risk.
MYTH: If she was: wearing that/ had that much to drink/ went back to his room, what did she think would happen?
FACT: A victim is NEVER responsible for their rape. The only person at fault is the perpetrator. These false arguments are used to make a person feel safer in a world where anyone can be victimized. Psychologically, the person is expressing “I would never wear that/ have that much to drink/ go back to his room, therefore this will never happen to me.”
MYTH: If I teach my child to stay away from strangers, they’ll be safe.
FACT: Most perpetrators of sexual assault, particularly against minors, are known to the victim.
MYTH: No one would rape them, they’re too old/fat/disabled.
FACT: Rape is not about sexual attraction; it's about power and control. Oftentimes, perpetrators target people who they know will never report them, or who will not be believed.
MYTH: He doesn’t seem like a rapist. I know a creep when I meet one.
FACT: Statistically speaking, you know a rapist, even if you don’t know it. Predators are not easy to detect, and in fact, may be well-versed at seeming like a good, normal citizen. This is a skill that allows them to get away with their crime.
MYTH: Sexual assault is inevitable. There is nothing we can do about it.
FACT: Sexual assault is preventable. We all can change our culture and end sexual assault.
For a fun and interactive resource brochure, click the link here. You will find our myth-buster that can be folded into a "fortune teller." It's very informative and makes learning interesting!