Myths about rape are pervasive in our culture. They function to discredit victims and make them feel personally responsible so they will not report the rape. Myths also give women a false sense of security and dis-inhibit the behavior of rapists. Replacing myths with facts is the first step in altering the conditions that lead to rape.
MYTH: Rape is a sexual crime, impulsively committed by a man for sexual gratification.
FACT: Rape is a crime of violence and aggression. Its intent is to overpower, degrade, and humiliate the victim.
MYTH: Rape can't happen to me or someone I know.
FACT: Rape victims come from all socioeconomic classes and ethnic backgrounds and range in age from 3 months to 97 years. Men and boys can be victims too. The highest rape victimization rate is for women between the ages of 16 and 19; the second highest is for women between the ages of 20 and 24.
MYTH: Most rapes are committed by strangers in a dark place at night.
FACT: It is estimated that as many as 80% of all rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. Rape can take place anywhere, at any time. Many acquaintance rapes occur in the context of a dating relationship and typically take place on the man's turf. For college women, their normal social environment - a party where alcohol is used - involves more of a risk for sexual victimization than does walking alone down a dark street.
MYTH: Women provoke rape by how they behave, dress, or where they choose to go. Rape is the victim's fault.
FACT: Rape is never the victim's fault. If a woman wants to be involved sexually with a man, it would not be necessary for him to use force or threats of physical violence. Research shows that rapists look for available women they perceive as vulnerable.
MYTH: In a dating situation, when a woman says "no" she really means "yes".
FACT: "No" means NO.
MYTH: Women report rapes to get even with men or to protect their reputations.
FACT: According to the BI, fewer than 2% of reports are false, which is the same percentage for the false reporting of other crimes. In fact, anywhere from 50% to 90% of all rapes are not reported to police.