Myth 1: It could never happen to me.
Reality : There is potential for any woman, man or child to be sexually assaulted. People of every age, race, social class, religion, education level, ability, sexual orientation, and physical description are assaulted.
Myth 2: Most victims are raped by strangers in dark alleys and it is “spur of the moment.”
Reality : Most sexual assaults are planned, and often happen during the day and in a home. It is estimated that 85% to 90% of victims know their perpetrator as a relative, friend, neighbour, or acquaintance. Rape by a fellow student, co-worker or new acquaintance is frequent among young single women.
Myth 3: Only young women are at risk of being raped.
Reality : Women and men of all ages are at risk. Statistics have estimated that 1 in 3 females and I in 6 males will be assaulted during her or his lifetime.
Myth 4: Rape is about sex and passion.
Reality : Rape is about power and control, not sex. Sexual violence is about taking control over another human being. More than half the females who have been raped are physically assaulted as well.
Myth 5: It is not rape if the couple is dating or married.
Reality : Unwanted sexual activity in any relationship is sexual assault. The law was changed back in 1983 to say that a partner cannot force another to engage in sexual activity. AND just because someone has consented to have sex with their partner once, twice, or a hundred times does not mean that she or he has consented to all future sex with that person.
Myth 6: Women often falsely accuse men of assault in order to get back at them, or because they regret or feel guilty about having sex.
Reality : Nearly all rapes are truthfully reported – only 4% are false which is the same as all false reports. Statistics show that less than 10% of victims actually report their assault to police.
Myth 7: Someone who was drinking or drunk when sexually assaulted is at least partially to blame for what happened.
Reality : Victims are never ever responsible for the attack, no matter what, and no matter how much alcohol was consumed. The responsibility lies with the perpetrator and his/her choice in behaviour. Sex without consent is sexual assault. Alcohol does increase the risk of sexual assault as the perpetrator may feel bolder to commit the crime and the victim less capable of protecting themselves and making safe choices. Alcohol is the #1 drug facilitated sexual assault.
Myth 8: If the victim did not fight or try to run away, or there was no weapon used or any injuries, it is not assault or rape.
Reality : Coerced consent, misuse of authority, or threats of violence, may be reasons why a victim did not actively resist. Another reason could be that the victim goes into ‘freeze’ mode of the Fight/Flight/Freeze response. This is when the brain’s survival area kicks in and releases adrenalin for survival.
Myth 9: A woman is “asking for it” if she is dressed or acts a certain way.
Reality : Regardless of what a woman is wearing, or how she is behaving, she is not asking to be touched, groped, grabbed, forcibly kissed, or sexually violated in any way. This belief is often used by perpetrators to rationalize their behaviour and victim blame.
Myth 10: When a woman says “no” she actually secretly wants it and enjoys being forced.
Reality : No one enjoys being made to do what they do not want to do. No one asks to be hurt or violated. “No” literally means “no”.
Myth 11: She/he didn’t actually say the word “no”, so it was okay.
Reality : Many perpetrators will rationalize their behaviour because the victim did not say the word “no”. But the Law is clear: sexual activity without consent is sexual assault. Other non-verbal behaviours that show the victim is not enthusiastically consenting is with silence, or body language such as crying, shaking, stiffness, squirming. Or words such as “I’m not into this right now”, “maybe later”, “I’m not sure.” A person who is intoxicated, unconscious, sleeping, or under 12, can never consent.
Myth 12: Sex workers cannot be raped – it’s their job to want sex.
Reality : Just because someone has accepted money or an exchange for a particular sexual act does not mean she or he has consented to all sexual acts at any time. A sex worker, just like anyone else always has the right to say no.
Myth 13: People in same-gender relationships cannot be victims of dating sexual violence.
Reality : Any one can be sexually assaulted, and it happens in LGBTQ relationships too.
Myth 14: Males who sexually assault males are Gay.
Reality : Research shows the majority of males who assault boys are heterosexual and have regular consenting sexual partners. Sexual assault is about power, not sex.