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Myths vs. Facts

MYTH: Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers.


60% – 80% of all sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows (i.e. a relative, friend, neighbor, or acquaintance). 85% of reported child sexual assaults are by someone known and trusted by the child. The attacks occur most frequently in the victim’s home or in the car.

MYTH: The primary motive for sexual assault is sex.


Studies show that the motive for the sexual assault is power and aggression, not sex and that most perpetrators have consenting sexual partners (i.e. boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives). Sexual assault is a crime of violence, committed by a person who uses sex as a weapon.

MYTH: A husband/wife cannot sexually assaulted their partner.


If a spouse forces his or her mate to have sex, then it is a sexual assault, and it is a crime. Studies show that 1 out of 7 women are sexually assaulted by their husbands. A person convicted of Spousal Sexual Battery can be sentenced up to 10 years in jail.

MYTH: Only women are sexually assaulted.


One out of every 10 men is a victim of sexual assault, and 1 out of six boys will be sexually abused by age 18. Males are socialized to not be vulnerable and not identify themselves as victims.

MYTH: If a victim experiences sexual arousal or orgasm from sexual abuse, this means           he/she was a willing participant or enjoyed it.


Sexual arousal or orgasmic response does not mean that positive emotions or consent were involved. It simply means that the body reacted. The act of abuse assumes or disregards a victim’s feelings. A person can have an erection or an orgasm even when he/she is afraid.

MYTH:A rapist is easy to spot in a crowd.


A rapist could be your neighbor, relative, boyfriend, girlfriend, cable person, husband, wife or stranger. The fact is they can be of any race, color or socio-economic status

MYTH: Sexual Assault could never happen to me.


This is false. Your mother, father, daughter, son, girlfriend, boyfriend, neighbor, sister, brother or coworker and you could become a sexual assault victim. All people are potential sexual assault victims, regardless of age, race, religion, occupation, education or physical description. Studies report that 1 out of every 3 women and 1 out of every 6 men will be a victim of some type of sexual assault during their lifetime.

MYTH: If a victim doesn’t scream or fight, it is not a sexual assault.


The perpetrator’s primary weapon is fear. Through threats of bodily injury or death, the victim is terrorized into cooperation or immobilized by fear. A victim does not have to have bruises, cuts or any other physical injury to prove that she has been sexually assaulted. Submission is not consent; it is against the victim’s will.

MYTH: Women “cry rape” to get back at men.


Less than 5% of reported sexual assaults are false accusations.



“Myths, Definitions and Statistics of Sexual Violence” handout.  Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment. 2013.

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