Rape Myths

Myth: A person who has been raped will be hysterical

Fact: Being raped is a very traumatic experience. Victims of sexual violence exhibit a variety of responses to the assault. These responses can include: calm, hysteria, withdrawal, anger, apathy denial and shock. There is no “right way” to react to rape.


Myth: Only young, pretty women are raped.

Fact:  Anyone can be raped.


Myth: Girls say no, but really mean yes.

Fact: Consent is freely given, clearly stated “yes.” Silence is not consent. Being drunk or drugged and unable to understand or speak is not consent. Being passed out or unconscious is not consent.


Myth: If she had sex with me before, she has consented to have sex with me again.

Fact: Previous sexual conduct, including previous consent to sex, is not consent to sex right now. If she kissed you yesterday, that doesn’t mean she wants to kiss you today.


Myth: Victims provoke rape when they dress provocatively, act sexy, go to someone’s room or house or a bar.

Fact: Rape is never the victim’s fault. It is crime of violence and control that stems from the perpetrator’s determination to exercise power over another. Forcing someone to engage in non-consensual sexual activity is rape, regardless of the way that person dresses or acts.


Myth: It’s not rape if it happens after drinking or taking drugs?

Fact: A person under the influence of drugs or alcohol cant consent to sexual activity. If consent isn’t given, it is rape.


Myth: Most rapes are committed by strangers. It’s not rape if the people involved knew each other.

Fact: Most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. For both completed and attempted rapes, about 8 in 10 offenders were known o the victim. Rape can be committed within any type of relationship, including in marriage, in dating relationships, or by classmates, acquaintances or co-workers.


Myth: It’s only rape if the victim puts up a fight and resists.

Fact: Many law enforcement experts say that victims should trust their instincts and intuition and do what they think is most likely to keep them alive. Not fighting or resisting an attack does not equal consent. It may mean it was the best way the victim knew how to protect himself/herself from further injury.


Myth: Someone can only be sexually assaulted if a weapon was involved.

Fact: In many cases of sexual assault, a weapon is not involved. The offender often uses physical strength, physical violence, intimidation, threats, or a combination of these tactics to overpower the victim. In addition, the offender may know intimate information about the victim’s life. This enhances the credibility of any threats made by the offender.