The term “rape myth” refers to commonly held beliefs about rape which are untrue. The repercussions of rape myth include: victim blaming, under reporting of rape and sexual assault, and not holding perpetrators accountable.
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT
MYTH: Rape is a sexual crime, impulsively committed by a man for sexual gratification.
FACT: Rape is a crime of violence and aggression. It is intended to overpower, degrade, and humiliate the victim. Over 70% of all rapes are planned. Most rapists are heterosexual men with normal sexual relationships, and many are married.
MYTH: Rape doesn’t happen very often.
FACT: Rape is the most frequently committed violent crime in America. The F.B.I. estimates that 1 in every 4 women will be raped sometime during her life and that a rape occurs every 2 minutes.
MYTH: Most rapes are committed by a stranger in a dark place at night.
FACT: It is estimated that from 50% to 70% of all rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. Rape can take place anywhere at any time; nearly half of all assaults occur in the victims’ home. Many acquaintance rapes occur in the contest of a dating relationship.
MYTH: Women report rapes to get even with men or to protect their reputations.
FACT: According to the F.B.I., fewer than 2% of reported rapes are false, which is the same percentage for the false reporting of other crimes.
MYTH: A woman who gets raped deserves it, especially if she agreed to go to the man’s home or ride in his car or was wearing revealing clothing.
FACT: No one, male or female, deserves to be raped. Being in someone’s home or car does not mean a person has agreed to have sex.