Rape Myths

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.



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.