Myths Vs Realities

Rape and sexual violence are topics many people find difficult to talk about. It’s a subject that can go under the radar because it’s not part of mainstream conversations. But this can result in assumptions being made and our knowledge gaps then filled by how the media report stories relating to sexual violence.

The frontline work PRCCG deliver means we can share our first-hand experiences. Work to counteract the myths that arise about sexual violence and talk about the realities.

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How survivors feel makes it very difficult for them to talk to anyone about their experiences.

These facts alone start to build a picture of what it’s like for survivors and the barriers they face. It’s why we are committed to dispelling these myths by raising awareness and understanding of sexual violence. An important area to tackle if we want to continue to provide our vital services to 

Accessing the support they need can be especially difficult. PRCCG focus on the needs and rights of female survivors but we do recognise the impacts of sexual violence on men and boys. The impact is no less devastating and we believe all 
survivors deserve specialist support.

Did you know ?

Sexual violence survivors often struggle with feelings of shame, guilt and self-blame

Did you know ?

Survivors often fear that others will blame them or they won’t be believed

Did you know ?

How survivors feel makes it very difficult for them to talk to anyone about their experiences

If you’re willing to drink lots of alcohol or take drugs you shouldn’t complain if you end up being raped or sexually assaulted.

The law states that consent to sex is when someone agrees by choice with the freedom and capacity to make that choice. If a person is unconscious or incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, they are unable to give consent to sex.

If you have sex with someone who is incapacitated through alcohol or drugs, this is rape. The reality is nobody asks for or deserves to be raped or sexually assaulted which means 100% of the responsibility lies with the perpetrator. It is everyone’s right to live their life free from the fear or experience of sexual violence.

Rape is only if someone is physically forced into sex and has injuries to show for it.

Sex without consent is rape. If someone doesn’t have any visible injuries it doesn’t mean they weren’t raped. Not all survivors show signs of internal or external injuries and there are lots of circumstances where someone might not have the freedom or capacity to consent to sex.

  • Weapons or threats of violence can be used to prevent a physical struggle
  • Taking advantage of someone who isn’t able to consent because they are drunk or asleep
  • Maybe they are in a controlling relationship with their rapist or too young to consent i.e. under 16

Many people who are sexually attacked are unable to move or speak from the fear and shock they are experiencing.

If two people have had sex with each other before, it’s always ok to have sex again.

Consent must be given and received every time two people engage in sexual contact. If they are in a relationship and had sex before, they can still be sexually assaulted by that person. It’s important to check in with sexual partners to make sure anything sexually that happens between them is what they both want, every time.

People who were sexually abused as children are likely to become abusers themselves.

This myth can be used to try and explain or excuse individuals who rape or sexually abuse children. The vast majority of those who were sexually abused as children will never perpetrate sexual violence against others. For the survivors of childhood sexual abuse, this statement is offensive and unhelpful. There is no excuse or explanation for sexual violence against children or adults.

Women are most likely to be raped after dark by a stranger so women shouldn’t go out alone at night.

The figures can quite easily dispel this myth – 90% of rapes are committed by men who know the survivor and they are often a person they have previously trusted or even loved. People are raped in their homes, workplaces or settings where they have previously felt safe.

Rapists can be friends, colleagues, clients, neighbours, family members, partners or exes. The risk of rape should not be used as an excuse to control a woman’s movements or restrict their rights and freedoms.

Men don’t get raped and women don’t commit sexual violence.

It’s true to say that most sexual assaults and rapes are committed by men against women and children. But it’s also true to say that women do perpetrate sexual violence.

For those who’ve been sexually assaulted or abused by women, it can be particularly difficult to report an incident. They are often fearful they won’t be believed or their experiences are not considered as ‘bad’ as being raped by a man.

Only young, ‘attractive’ women and girls who flirt and wear ‘revealing’ clothes are raped.

Rape is an act of violence and control. The perceived ‘attractiveness’ of a survivor is an irrelevant factor. People of all ages, classes, cultures, abilities, genders, sexualities, races and religions are raped.

There is no excuse for someone who chooses to commit sexual violence and it is never the survivor’s fault. What someone was wearing or how they behaved when they were raped is irrelevant.

Once a man is sexually aroused he cannot help himself – he has to have sex.

Rape is an act of violence even control it’s not sexual gratification. Men can control their urges to have sex just as women can. Nobody needs to rape for sexual satisfaction and it’s not an act that can be explained or justified.

When it comes to sex, women and girls sometimes ‘play hard to get’ and say ‘no’ when they really mean ‘yes’.

When it comes to sex, we must respect the wishes of our sexual partners and believe them when they tell us about what they do or don’t want to do. Everyone has the legal right to say ‘no’ to sex and change their mind about having sex at any point of sexual contact. If the other person does not stop, they are committing sexual assault or rape.

Alcohol, drugs, stress or depression can turn people into rapists.

None of these is ever the cause of rape or sexual assault, it’s the attacker who is committing the crime. There are no excuses.

Men of certain races and backgrounds are more likely to commit sexual violence.

There is no certain race. People who commit sexual violence come from every economic, ethnic, racial, age and social group.

People often lie about being raped because they regret having sex with someone, out of spite or for attention.

False allegations of rape are very rare and widescale belief in this myth can prevent those who’ve experienced sexual violence from getting the support they need. The vast majority of survivors choose not to report their experiences to the police because they fear not being believed. Media focus on false rape allegations can also serve to perpetuate this myth.

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