Myth: Men assault impulsively and out of biological need.
Fact: Sexual Assault is a criminal act of violence, using sex as a weapon. Men assault to express hostility and to dominate. Men assault because it allows them to express anger and to feel powerful by controlling another person. Studies show that 50% of sexual assaults are premeditated and well-planned, not impulsive, spontaneous, uncontrollable sexual acts.
Myth: Sexual Assaults are usually reported.
Fact: Sexual Assault is probably one of the most underreported crimes; researchers estimate that between 50 to 90% of sexual assault cases go unreported.
Myth: Husbands cannot sexually assault their wives.
Fact: Sexual Assault occurs whenever sexual contact is not mutual/consensual, when choice is taken away. Researchers estimate that sexual assault occurs in 10-14% of all marriages.
Myth: Most sexual assaults occur in dark alleys or to hitchhikers.
Fact: Most sexual assaults (60%) occur in a private home and the largest percentage of these assaults (38%) occurs in the victim's home. The idea that most sexual assaults fit the “stranger-in-a-dark-alley” stereotype can lead to a false sense of security.
Myth: Sexual assault happens to careless people who are "asking for it" by the way they dress or where they are.
Fact: No one asks to be assaulted. All kinds of people, young and old, are sexually assaulted in all kinds of places and at all times.
Myth: People often lie about being sexually assaulted.
Fact: Police statistics show that the number of falsely reported sexual assaults is less than that of other crimes—2%.
Myth: If someone agrees to some degree of sexual intimacy, they want to have sexual intercourse.
Fact: Any person has the right to agree to any degree of sexual intimacy they feel comfortable with at that moment, and to not go any further if they do not wish to. A person may feel comfortable with one kind of sexual activity but not wish another—or they may decide they are not really ready for further intimacy.
Myth: It's only sexual assault if physical violence or weapons are used.
Fact: Sexual assault is any unwanted act of a sexual nature imposed by one person upon another. Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior where consent is not freely given or obtained and is accomplished through force, intimidation, violence, coercion, manipulation, threat, deception, or abuse of authority.
Myth: The greatest danger is from a stranger.
Fact: Most sexual assaults, 80%, are committed by someone the victim knows (family member, friend, dating partner, spouse, neighbor, coach, teacher, doctor, therapist, etc.)
Myth: Men who rape other men are homosexual.
Fact: The vast majority of males who sexually assault other males (including children) are heterosexual. Men and women are assaulted for basically the same reasons: so the assailant can vent hostility and feel a sense of power. Fear of homosexuality ironically leads some men to sexually assault gay men. The motivations for same-sex assault are power and anger. Sexual orientation is not a motivation for sexual assault.
Myth: If the “victim” is aroused during the “assault” it is not really assault.
Fact: No-one ever enjoys sexual assault. In some cases a person may respond sexually during the assault, but this is purely a reflex physiological response, it does not indicate that the abuse was welcome.
Myth: Rapists are sexually unfulfilled men.
Fact: 30% of rapists are married and having sex regularly.
Adapted from Rid of My Disgrace by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb.