Grand Valley State University Women's Center
Sexual Assault Facts
The myths surrounding sexual assault can compound the devastating effects of sexual assault for those who have survived it. These myths often shift responsibility and blame from the rapist to the victim. Unfortunately, these beliefs are widely held and are often reinforced to survivors of sexual assault through the media and the reactions of institutions, friends, and family. Understanding and discrediting these myths is vital to supporting those who have experienced sexual assault.
- FACT: The rapist is always responsible for having committed the rape. Survivors do not "ask" to be raped, regardless of the clothes she/he was wearing, her/his appearance, behavior, judgment, or previous actions.
- FACT: Women are in far greater danger of being raped by a friend or fellow student than by a stranger. Almost 90% of college women who were raped knew their assailants.
- FACT: Studies have shown that only 5% of convicted rapists have a diagnosed mental disorder. Men are fully responsible for controlling both their minds and their bodies. Most men rape because they feel a sense of entitlement and power.
- FACT: Sexual assault is a vastly underreported crime. Almost 95% of attacks are unreported. Victims/survivors are lesss likely to report because of shame or fear of further assaults or harassment.
- FACT: Alcohol is a weapon that some rapists use to control their victim and render them helpless. As part of their plan, a rapist will encourage the victim to use alcohol, or identify an individual who is already drunk. Alcohol is not a cause of rape; it is only one of many tools that rapists use.
- FACT: Alcohol and other drugs are often used to incapacitate victims. Michigan defines sexual assault by the action of the perpetrator and not the victim.
Source: Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Page last modified November 27, 2012