Sexual Assault Myths

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Sexual Assault Myths

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Posted By DAM Firm | August 29 2019 | child abuse

We have a crisis when it comes to sexual assault in the United States. Over the last few years, a spotlight has been on survivors coming forward in a range of circumstances. The #MeToo movement has finally allowed us to glimpse the extent of the problems concerning:

However, we are also aware of rape culture, which is a “complex set of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women.”

Myths that Surround Sexual Assault

1. Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers

This is not true. Statistics show that eight out of every ten rapes are committed by someone the survivor knows. This number increases to nine out of every ten when discussing cases of child sexual abuse. Abusers can be an acquaintance, current or former intimate partner, family member, etc.

2. Children are not often the victims of assault

Statistics show us that one out of every ten children will be sexually abused before they reach the age of 18. Over 90% of the victims of child sexual abuse know the perpetrator. This could be a teacher, coach, mentor, member of the clergy, or even a family member.

3. Consent cannot be taken back

Many people believe that once consent is given that it cannot be taken back. That is not true. Consent can be revoked in any sexual situation at any time for any reason. No means no – no matter when it is said. Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs.

4. Men cannot control their behavior once sexually aroused

Rape cannot be condoned because a man was aroused and says they could not control their behavior. Men can control their behavior when they are aroused.

5. Flirting and wearing revealing clothing provokes assault

If someone is flirting or wearing revealing clothing, that is not an invitation to sexual activity. No victims of sexual assault should be accused of provoking the assault. While certain behaviors may arouse a person, sexual activity should never be commenced without gaining consent first.

6. Men cannot be the victims of sexual assault

While the vast majority of reported sexual assaults do happen to women, men can certainly be the victims as well. In fact, the number of sexual assaults against men is vastly underreported. Many men do not come forward about assaults for a variety of reasons:

  • They feel shame about what happened
  • They do not want to feel like “less of a man”
  • They think they won’t be believed

Women offenders are more likely to abuse children than they are adults. Women are the abusers in an estimated 14% of all cases among boys and 6% of all cases among girls.

Never Blame the Survivors of Sexual Assault

All too often, we hear people blaming the survivors of sexual assault. People may say things like:

  • “Well, they shouldn’t have dressed like that.”
  • “Why did they dress so provocatively?”
  • “They knew better than to walk alone.”
  • “That’s what happens in college.”

The survivors of sexual assault are never to blame for what happened to them. This is especially true for child victims of clergy sexual abuse or any other kind of sexual abuse.

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