There are many myths that men and women have heard over the years so for educational purposes, here is some good Myths and facts to understand:
MYTH: Only certain "types" of women are raped.
FACT: No woman is safe from a rape attempt. Any woman of any age, race, class religion, occupation, physical disability, sexual identity, or appearance can be raped; rape is a very "democratic" form of violence. Four-month old infants and women in their 90's, women heavily dressed for arctic chill or lightly dressed for summer, have been sexually assaulted. Recent studies indicate one in four women will be sexually assaulted in this country. Current statistics also indicate one in four college women will be sexually assaulted before she graduates.
MYTH: Most rapes are unplanned, spontaneous acts.
FACT: Most rapes (approx. 80%) are wholly or partially planned, (reference M. Amir). About 50% occur in either the victim's or assailant's home. Assailants often "stake out" areas they visit regularly, such as grocery store parking lots, offices, libraries, jogging trails, and laundry rooms. In other words, wherever women are in the world, they are vulnerable. As more survivors speak out about their assaults, we are also learning that 60-80% of all sexual assaults are committed by men known to them. This can range from someone known to them only by sight to individuals with whom they are very close: a best friend, lover or husband. Most assaults of young women are known as "acquaintance rapes."
MYTH: Most rapists do this because they can't have sex any other way.
FACT: Most rapists, according to recent studies, also have "normal" relation- ships with women. They are often in long-term relationships, maybe married and have children. In Koss's study (year), 1 in 12 men admitted to committing acts which met the legal definition of rape.
MYTH: Most rapes are interracial.
FACT: The overwhelming majority - 90% - of sexual assaults involve people of the same race. Because most rapes are between acquaintances, these tend not to be reported; the "system" responds more readily to victims of stranger rape, which most interracial rapes are. Thus FBI and other Justice Department statistics are seriously inaccurate in this area. In addition, media reports tend to play up the race of accused criminals, further encouraging racist misconceptions in our society.
MYTH: Women who party hard, drink and do drugs are setting themselves up to be raped.
FACT: Nobody deliberately "sets up" herself to be raped. Because alcohol and drugs may affect judgment, feelings, perceptions, and lower inhibitions, women may be in a more vulnerable position when they drink. One campus Women's Liaison at a major university was told by members of a fraternity that they watch women's behavior at parties. They assume that women who immediately approach the bar upon arrival are there for sex, regardless of the possibility that some women may feel insecure or shy. Wearing particular clothes, naivete, poor judgment, shyness, even reckless behavior is not a crime: rape is. Sexual assault is the only crime where the relationship between the parties is deemed relevant and the victim's prior behavior is considered relevant provocation. This is not the case in grand theft (even if you left a Rolls Royce in a poverty-stricken area of town) or assault and battery (unless, again, the victim is female).
MYTH: If a woman just relaxes, it will all be over with soon. She might even find it isn't so bad after all.
FACT: No one asks a robbery victim to "relax and enjoy it." Rape is violence using sex as a weapon. Survivors of sexual violence feel very clearly that rape and consensual sex are worlds apart. Rape involves persistent pressure, taking advantage of a person's inability to say "no", calculated drugging with alcohol or other substances, and/or threats, sometimes against the woman's life, or her livelihood, or academic career, or even family members or friends. Many survivors recall being in fear for their lives, even if a weapon was not present. Rape often involves more than "simple" sexual intercourse: assault with foreign objects, sodomy, fellatio, cunnilingus, "train" or gang rape, verbal abuse and other kinds of "slave" behavior (cooking meals, etc.) In Los Angeles, a compilation on data from rape hotline calls revealed the average length of a rape was 3.5 hours.
MYTH: A rapist is easy to spot in a crowd.
FACT: There is nothing about men who rape which distinguishes them from other men, including their psychological profiles. Rapists come from all races, ethnic or socioeconomic groups. They can be large, small, able-bodied or disabled, married or single. What we do know is that rapists almost always identify as heterosexual, even if their victims are male, and they rarely go to jail the first time; in fact, studies of adolescent offenders indicate that most began committing sexual assaults when they were very young.
MYTH: Men can't be sexually assaulted.
FACT: Between one in six and one in ten males are sexually assaulted - mostly by heterosexual men. A majority of male survivors were assaulted when they were children or teenagers, yet adult men can be assaulted as well. Another misconception is that male victims must be gay. Most male survivors are heterosexual, although gay men are assaulted on dates as well. Also, hate violence against gays is on the rise. Like assaults against women, this is a crime of power and violence.
MYTH: Women lie about rape as an act of revenge or guilt.
FACT: A justice of the New York State Supreme Court has said, "False rape charges are not frequently made; only about 2% of all rape and related sex charges are determined to be false-the same as other felonies." FBI statistics support this as well. False claims of auto theft are reported more frequently than those of rape. Only about 5% of all rapists fall into the psychopathic category; the rest are motivated by power or anger.
MYTH: Self-defense just isn't ladylike.
FACT: It may not be ladylike, but it is womanlike. Passive behavior only became a measure of how women should behave in the last few centuries. As anthropologists and historians rediscover more and more about women's history, they find that women have actively resisted male violence since long before the invention of patriarchy.
MYTH: Fighting back incites a rapist to violence.
FACT: Most rapists pick out potential victims they believe may be good targets without a fight. They actually may even test these women nonverbally or verbally before determining whether or not to attack. Recent studies of rape avoidance behavior have shown that the more options a woman knows, the more psychologically ready she is to resist. Both verbal and physical resistance may actually lessen the severity of injury in some instances. What is most important to remember is that no one can tell another person what is right or wrong in a dangerous situation. Only s/he knows her/his own abilities, can assess the assailant's behavior, and can determine what the possibilities are. Knowing their options may prevent feeling paralyzed by fear, and may also help the survivor understand that submission is also a viable form of self- protection.
Myths and Facts
Please note: Rape prevention workshop coming in August...CLICK HERE
Rapists aren't always strangers. When someone you know, whether that be a date, a steady boyfriend, or a casual friend, forces you to have sex, it's still rape. Date and acquaintance rape is about power, control and anger...
Not romance and passion.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact. Sexual assault can be physical contact such as forced touching of the genitals or breasts, oral sex, anal penetration, and sexual intercourse. Sexual assault can include non-touching abuse such as indecent exposure, sexually obscene phone calls, or sexual harassment.
The Emotional Impact of Sexual Assault
Survivors of sexual assault experience a wide variety of reactions and feelings following an assault. Not every survivor feels the same, however, some common reactions include:
What Can I Do If I am Sexually Assaulted?
Know that you are not alone. You do not have to deal with the physical or emotional trauma of sexual assault by yourself. Call a friend or a family member.
Local Sexual Assault Crisis Centers provide confidential assistance 24 hours a day. You can call to ask for information or assistance without identifying yourself. Also, if you choose to go to the hospital or police, most Crisis Centers can arrange for a counselor to accompany you and explain the medical and legal options in your area
How Can I Reduce The Risk of Sexual Assault?
Educate yourself, your friends, and family members about sexual assault. Remember that sexual assault can happen to anyone. Some simple tips to help reduce your risk:
In single-offender rape/sexual assault victimizations, Whites and Blacks were victimized most often by members of their own race (Whites by Whites, 78.4%; Blacks by Blacks, 83.5%).
Of the 39,989 multiple-offender rape/sexual assault victimizations in 1994, 84.8% involved only male offenders, and 6.8% involved male and female offenders. Female-only offenders were involved in 8.4% of victimizations.
Almost half of all multiple-offender rape/sexual assault victimizations had no age-of-offender distinction (44.8%), another 24% were committed by 12-20 year olds, and 15.2% by 21-29 year olds. Only 5.9% of those committed were by offenders 30 years of age and older. The age of 10.2% of victimizations by multiple-offenders was not known.
Forty-eight percent of all rapes/sexual assaults in 1994 were committed by an offender perceived to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, 27.9% were perceived to be not on drugs or alcohol, and in 23.9% of the incidents the use of drugs or alcohol was not known or could not be ascertained.
Half of all multiple-offender rape/sexual assault victimizations (49.4%) were committed by Whites, 29.5% by Blacks, 15.5% by mixed races, and 5.7% by other races than White or Black. Rates were not provided to allow for comparisons among the races.
Of the multiple-offender rape/sexual assault victimizations, 76% were committed by strangers.
Location of Rape/Sexual Assault Incidents
Overwhelmingly, rape/sexual assault victims were most likely to be raped/sexually assaulted at home (33.7%) or at or near a friend/relative/neighbor's home (21.3%), than any other location reported. However, in contrast to the location of rapes/sexual assaults committed most by nonstrangers (45.5% at or in victim's home) the location of rapes/sexual assaults committed most by strangers was on the street other than near the victim's home (19.5%). 12.6% of rape/sexual assault victimizations by strangers occurred at or in the victim's home, which was only slightly more than the occurrence of victimization in an apartment yard, park, field, or playground (10.8%), other commercial building (9%), at, in or near a friend/neighbor/relative's home (10.9%) or a parking lot or garage (8.9%).
Almost a third (31.9%) of rape/sexual assault incidents were committed during leisure activity away from home, and 22.2% during activities at home. The next greatest percent of incidents occurring during a single activity occurred while the victims were sleeping (15.3%). Incidents occurring during transit to and from work, school, other places, or while shopping or running errands comprised 15.2%. 3.9% of rapes/sexual assaults occurred while working or one duty, and 2.1% while attending school.
Ninety-four percent of rapes/sexual assaults occurred within 50 miles of the victim's home. The rate of rape/sexual assault in urban areas was greater (2.7) than suburban areas (1.8) and rural areas (1.7). (Rates given are per 1000 persons).
The South and West regions of the country had the highest rates of rape/sexual assault (2.3) followed by a rate of 1.9 in the Northeast and a low of 1.5 in the Midwest. (Rates given are per 1000 persons).
Time of Occurrence
Sixty-seven percent of rape incidents occurred at nighttime in the 12 hours between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., compared to 30.5% which occurred in the daytime, in the 12 hours between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Use of Weapons
In rapes/sexual assaults involving strangers, weapons were known to be used in 20.3% of the incidents. Of these, 8.8% used a firearm (hand gun) and 11.5% used a knife. In rapes/sexual assaults involving nonstrangers, weapons were known to be used in 15% of the incidents. Of these, 4.2% used a firearm (hand gun); 5.4% used a knife or sharp object, and 2% used some other weapon.
Of those rape/sexual assault victimizations using physical force, the offender was the first to use force in 87.1% of incidents. The victim was first to use force only 7.1% of the
Of those rape/sexual assault incidents where the victim took self-protective measures, self-protective measures were taken slightly more against offenders who were nonstrangers (84.6%) than offenders who were strangers (77.1%).
Females were slightly more likely to take self-protective measures than males (82.5% vs. 72.6% respectively). Blacks and Whites were almost equally likely to take self-protective measures (88% vs. 80.5% respectively). All persons under age fifty were equally as likely to take self-protective measures (an average of 82.7% of the victimizations).
When self-protective measures were employed, victims were almost equally likely to resist or capture the offender (20.4%) as to persuade or appease the offender (19.5%). Victims more often scared or warned the offender (16.1%) than ran away or hid (11.4%). Victims were almost as likely to scream from pain and fear (8.2%) as they were to attack the offender without a weapon (9.3%). In less than 1% (.4%) of incidents did the victim attack the offender with a weapon.
Not surprisingly, male victims when compared to female victims were more likely to attack the offender without a weapon (12.6% vs. 7.7% respectively), and resist or capture the offender (23.9% vs. 17.2% respectively). They were less likely to run away or hide (14.7% to 18.1% respectively), but equally likely to try to appease or persuade the offender (12.7% vs. 13.7% respectively).
Fifty-five percent of the number of rape/sexual assault victimizations in which self-protective measures were employed by the victim resulted in helping the situation. Self-protective measures hurt the situation in 10.5% of victimizations. In 17.2% of the incidents the result neither helped nor hurt the situation, and in 7.7% of the incidents the situation was both helped and hurt.
In rape/sexual assault victimizations where measures were taken by someone other than the victim, it helped the situation 27.7% of the time. 14.9% of the time it hurt the situation; 38.4% of the time it neither helped nor hurt the situation, and 2% of the time it both helped and hurt the situation.
In cases where self-protective measures by the victim were helpful, 42.5% avoided injury or greater injury, 37.6% escaped, and 11.1% of the time the offender was scared off.
In cases where self-protective measures by the victims were harmful, no data is available for rape/sexual assault. For assault in general, 69.6% of the time, it made the offender angrier, more aggressive, 9.7% of the time it led to injury or greater injury, and 15.6% of the time it made the situation worse in other ways.
For general assault, there were no significant differences in sex, age, race, income and victim-offender relationship in the percent of victimizations in which victims sustained physical injury. No data specific to rape/sexual assault were available.
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