MYTH: Sexual assault is an act of lust and passion that can’t be controlled.
FACT: Sexual assault is about power and control and is not motivated by sexual gratification. It is a crime of violence! No one asks or deserves to be sexually assaulted. Perpetrators are responsible for their own choices and actions.
MYTH: Wearing revealing clothing, behaving provocatively, or drinking a lot means the victims was "asking for it."
FACT: The perpetrator selects the victim, the victims behavior or clothing choices do not mean that they are consenting to sexual activity.
MYTH: Victims provoke sexual assault by the way they act or dress.
FACT: No one asks to be raped. What someone is wearing and how they are acting have nothing to do with being raped. Women of all ages and all lifestyles are raped. Studies have shown that 71% of rapes are planned ahead of time, making what you are wearing or how you are acting unimportant. Rape is about power and control, not sex. Clothing is not a form of consent.
MYTH: It wasn't sexual abuse if you didn't have intercourse.
FACT: Sexual abuse can occur in three categories: visual, verbal and physical. If you didn't agree (consent) to the sexual activity, it was sexual abuse. Even if there was no or very little physical contact, if you felt like you had no other choice (i.e., threatened, etc) it was sexual abuse.
MYTH: If you were high or drunk when it happened, it was your own fault.
FACT: Getting drunk or high doesn't mean you deserve to be sexually abused. Even though it's important to be aware of where you are and what you're doing in order to keep safe, the perpetrator is always at fault.
MYTH: If you aren't physically hurt (hit, punched, pushed to the ground, etc.) it isn't really abuse.
FACT: Emotional pressure (including threats) can be just as bad as physical force. If you were made to do something sexual that you didn't want to do, it's sexual abuse--no matter what kind of force the perpetrator used.
MYTH: If the perpetrator was drunk or high when it happened, it wasn't really his/her fault.
FACT: Lots of people drink or use drugs and never sexually abuse anyone. Being drunk or high is no excuse for abuse. Sexual abuse is always the perpetrator's responsibility.
MYTH: Sexual violence can sometimes be the victims fault.
FACT: Sexual violence is NEVER the victim’s fault. It doesn’t matter if the victim was dressed seductively, drinking or using drugs, out at night alone, on a date with the perpetrator, etc. No one asks to be raped or sexually assaulted. The responsibility and blame lie with the perpetrator, never with the victim.
MYTH: If you were sexually involved with the person in the past, it can't be sexual abuse.
FACT: It's your body. You have the right to say what happens and when. No matter what you've done before, no one has the right to force you into doing anything sexual.
MYTH: If a victim of sexual assault does not fight back, they must have thought the assault was not bad or they wanted it.
FACT: Many survivors experience reactive immobility or "fight, flight, freeze." This response is the body's automatic built in system designed to protect us from threat or danger. Many survivors during an assault can not physically move or speak. Everyone responds to trauma differently.
MYTH: Wearing revealing clothing, behaving provocatively or drinking a lot means the victims was "asking for it.
FACT: The perpetrator selects the victim (conscious choice). The victim's behavior or clothing do not mean that they are consenting to sexual activity.
MYTH: Getting help is expensive for survivors of assault.
FACT: Services such as counseling and advocacy are offered for free or at a low cost by sexual assault service providers.
MYTH: If you're abused by somebody who's the same sex as you, it means you're gay.
FACT: Sexual abuse is a crime. It's about power and control, not desire. The sex of the perpetrator doesn't say anything about whether the victim is straight or gay.