Sexual Assault Reports


Myth vs. Fact

Rape Myths - beliefs about sexual assault - are often completely untrue. Others are based on incorrect information that, applied to all cases and situations uncritically, create injurious policies and practices that harm women. Myths exist for many historic reasons, which include inherited structural conditions, gender role expectations, and the fundamental exercise of power in a patriarchal society.

Rape statistics tell the full story.

FACT: Rape is the most underreported crime in the world. Having a prior relationship with the assailant is the chief reason women cite for not reporting their rapes to the police.

Only "bad" women get raped.

FACT: Rape victims are often looked upon with suspicion. We presume to feel safer by blaming the victim for being out late, drinking, her dress, or "leading on" the rapist.

Sexual assault is an impulsive, spontaneous act.

FACT: Most rapes are carefully planned by the rapist. A rapist will rape again, usually in the same area of town and in the same way.

Women incite men to rape.

FACT: Opportunity is the most important factor determining when a given rapist will rape. Rape is the responsibility of the rapist alone.

Rape is sex.

FACT: Power, control, and anger are the primary motives of rape. Rape is experienced by the victims as an act of life-threatening violence.

Rape only happens to women.

FACT: Rape victims can be male or female and of any age, physical type, or demeanor.

Sexual assault usually occurs between strangers.

FACT: Rape victims often know their attackers. The rapist may be a relative, friend, co-worker, date, or other acquaintance.

Women secretly enjoy being raped.

FACT: No woman, man, or child enjoys being raped. It is a brutal intrusion on the mind, body and spirit that can have lasting trauma.

Acquaintance rape is less traumatic than rape by a stranger.

FACT: An acquaintance rape victim often represses recognition of her experience, so she may carry the effects of the assault for a longer time than a stranger rape victim.

No one will believe that I was raped.

FACT: There will always be someone who will believe you.

I don’t know how to help a rape victim.

Fact: Helping a rape victim is basic first aid: Believe. Listen. Reinforce that the rape was not her fault. Provide protection. Suggest calling a rape crisis center. Be available.

Giving in is consent.

FACT: Giving in is a survival strategy. Do not berate yourself that you “let” him/her rape you. You do not need to sustain injury or death to “prove” you were raped. 

Men can’t change their behavior.

FACT: Men collectively have the power to end rape: Never force a woman to have sex. Don’t pressure a woman to have sex. Communicate with women. Communicate with other men.

Women lie about rape to “punish” men or to win attention for themselves.

FACT: This argument is often used to classify a rape complaint as “unfounded.” Holding rapists accountable for their actions is essential to ending sexual violence.

Pressing charges against a rapist will lead to arrest.

FACT: Extralegal factors influence police decisions to arrest, such as victim “misconduct”, victim delay in filing a report, and a prior relationship between a victim and suspect.


U.S. Reported Rapes

Rape is the most under-reported crime in the world, only 5% of all rapes are reported.