know what is real


Sexual assault statistics

How often does rape or sexual assault happen?


Can we prevent rape by avoiding attackers or dangerous places?

How often is rape reported truthfully?


What are the consequences of rape?


Myths vs. facts

In the United States, many of the attitudes and laws concerning rape are beginning to change from viewing the victim as somehow responsible to viewing this act as a crime. Medical care is also improving. However, most Americans have grown up with conscious or unconscious awareness of many common myths concerning rape. The more common of these, along with the facts based on U.S. statistics, are listed below:

- Myth - Sex is the primary motive for rape.

Fact - Studies show that the major motives for rape are aggression, anger, and hostility, not sex.

- Myth - Rape is an impulse act.

Fact - The majority of all rapes are planned - both the victim and the place.

- Myth - Rape usually occurs between perfect strangers.

Fact - Studies show that in most cases the assailant and the victim are acquaintances, if not friends and relatives. In many cases, the assailant has had prior dealings with the victim, for example, he may be an ex-boyfriend, a neighbor, a friend of a friend, maintenance man, or a co-worker.

- Myth - Women who are raped are asking for it. Any woman could prevent a rape if she really wanted to, since no woman can be raped against her will.

Fact - In about 87% of all rapes, the rapist either carried a weapon or threatened the victim with death. The primary reaction of almost all women to the attack is fear for their lives. Most women, even if not paralyzed by fear, are physically unable to fight off a sexual assault. Submission does not imply a desire to be assaulted.

- Myth - Only young, women who are pretty or wear sexy clothing get raped.

Fact - The average age of victims is between 19 and 26 years old. However, victims have ranged in age from 6 months to 97 years.

- Myth - Mode of dress, such as short skirts, no bra etc. increase a woman's chance of being raped.

Fact - Any woman regardless of dress, age or attractiveness may become a rape victim. Rapists are not out for sexual gratification and most are not sexually aroused at the time of the assault.

- Myth - Rape cannot happen to me.                                             

Fact- Rape can happen to all women, regardless of age, social class, race or personal appearance.

-Myth – Most rapes occur at night by strangers lurking in dark places.

Fact – As many as 80% of all assaults involve acquaintances.  An assailant might be someone you know intimately.  He may be a co-worker, a friend, or a family member.  Many rapes occur during daylight hours in places familiar to victims.

-Myth – A lot of women “cry rape” to get back at someone they are angry with.

Fact – Out of all reported sexual assault cases, false reports only make up about 2%.

-Myth – When a person commits a rape, he or she is really just interested in sex.

Fact – Rape is about power and control, not about sex.

-Myth – A person who has really been assaulted will be hysterical.

Fact – Survivors exhibit a spectrum of emotional responses to assault, including calm, hysteria, laughter, anger, apathy, or shock.  Each survivor copes with trauma of the assault in a different way.


It is important to be aware of these myths and the facts because most Volunteers will have to resolve these attitudes in dealing with themselves, or others, as victims.