Myth: Rape is an expression of sexual desire.
Reality: Rape is a crime of violence that uses sex to take power and control from the survivor.
Myth: Rape is usually committed by strangers.
Reality: In over 50% of reported rapes the victim knew their attacker well. Mary Koss found in her survey of college students in 1986 that 84% of women raped knew their attacker. Rape occurs everywhere, during the day and night, by people we know and total strangers.
Myth: Men are never victims of sexual assault.
Reality: 7% of rape victims are male (Massachusetts Department of Public Safety). However, the prevalence of crimes against men is surely under-reported, particularly because most men who have been raped are victims of childhood rapes. The additional stigma of being a male victim can make recovery that much more difficult.
Myth: Women who drink are asking to be raped.
Reality: No one asks to be raped. Rape victims transcend the boundaries of race, class, age, and appearance. There is no set formula; it can happen to anyone. Alcohol does play a role in the prevalence of sexual assault: 75% of male perpetrators and 55% of female victims in the Koss survey said they were drinking at the time of the attack. The intoxication of either party is never an excuse to force someone to have sex. If the victim is intoxicated s/he may not be capable of giving consent. On the other hand, the alleged perpetrator is responsible for his/her behavior regardless of intoxication.