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Misconceptions about Sexual Violence

Women are not the only survivors of sexual assault and rape

  • Sexual assault and rape can happen to anyone and be perpetrated by anyone, regardless of gender or sexuality.  

 

Rape and assault can occur even if the survivor did not fight back

  • If a survivor did not consent, the act was assault. Consent cannot be obtained through fear or threats of violence.

 

Consent must be acquired for each sexual act, every time

  • The fact that a person has consented to something once before does not mean they always give consent. It is possible for a spouse or significant other to perpetrate assault. Sex workers can also be violated; being paid for sexual acts does not prevent them from sexual assault or deny them rights.  

 

No one is ever "asking for it"

  • Rape and sexual assault are acts of violence and degradation, an unwanted violation of one's body. The idea that survivors were "asking for" such violence is a tactic of rape culture, intended to blame survivors for violence directed at them. 

 

Rape is not a product of uncontrollable lust

  • Rape is not sex. Rape is an act of violence, domination, and control. Rape is not a way to show affection, attraction, love, or desire.

 

Rape is not only perpetrated by a stranger

  • Rape is not always committed by an anonymous attacker wielding a weapon. While rape may be perpetrated by a stranger, it is far more common for the survivor to know the person who assaulted them. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Justice reports that 80 percent of all rapes and cases of sexual assault do not involve a weapon.  

 

Being assaulted or raped is not an indicator of the sexuality of the victim or the perpetrator

  • For example, men who rape and assault other men may identify as straight. Rape in such instances is not about sexual attraction; it is about power.

 

An orgasm does not equal consent

  • Nor does it represent a positive emotional response. 

 

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