Myths and Facts About Sexual Assault and Consent

Myth: Sexual assault is rare and affects very few people.
Fact: Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted, and 60% of sexual assaults are unreported to the police.(RAINN)

Myth: Only women and gay men get raped.
Fact: 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. The vast majority of male rape victims, as well as their rapists, are heterosexual.

Myth: Rapists are strangers who hide out in dark alleys, waiting to pounce on their victims.
Fact: 67% of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. (RAINN)

Myth: You can spot a rapist by the way he looks.
Fact: Rapists are not physically identifiable. They may appear friendly, normal, and non-threatening. Many are young, married and have children.

Myth: Only certain types of women get raped.
Fact: One in four college women report surviving rape (15 percent) or attempted rape (12 percent) since their fourteenth birthday. (oneinfourusa.org) 80% of sexual assault victims are under the age of 30. (RAINN)

Myth: False reporting is common; women frequently “cry rape.”
Fact: The FBI reports that only 2% of rape reports are given falsely.  This is the same report rate for other felonies.

Myth: If the assailant, victim, or both are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the victim is free to consent to sex and the assailant therefore cannot be charged with rape.
Fact: When intoxicated, an individual cannot legally consent to sexual activity. Forcing sex on someone who is too drunk to give consent is still Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree. Rape is a serious offense, and people who commit crimes while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are not considered free from guilt.

Myth: If a husband has sex with his wife without her consent, it is not legally considered rape.
Fact: Regardless of the marital or social relationship between the assailant and victim, if an individual does not consent to sexual activity, he or she is being sexually assaulted. In fact, 14% of women are victims of rape committed by their husband.

Myth: Many people fantasize about being raped.
Fact: No one fantasizes about being raped. Some people may have fantasies about or engage in aggressive sex, but this can be controlled and stopped if it becomes threatening. Rape takes away the victim’s control and he or she is unable to end the violence. No one asks to be raped.

Myth: If a rapist is really guilty, he or she will go to prison for a long time.
Fact: Factoring in unreported rapes, about 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. 15 of 16 walk free. (RAINN)

Myth: A person can avoid being raped as long as he or she follows certain guidelines, such as acting or dressing conservatively, not going out at night alone, and refraining from drinking alcohol or doing drugs.
Fact: Rape can happen to anyone at any time, no matter how cautious they are. Advising people to follow “guidelines” to avoid being sexually assaulted puts the responsibility of the assault on the victim. Instead, it is the responsibility of the assailant to avoid sexually assaulting others, and as a community, it is our responsibility to understand and promote the fact that sexual assault is never trivial, excusable or deserved, and

it is never the victim’s fault.