Rape myths

REALITY: Around 90% of victims of rape and sexual assault know the perpetrator 1. 54% of rapes are carried out by partners or former partners 2. Around one third of teenage girls suffer unwanted sexual acts in their relationships 3. Women are much more likely to be sexually assaulted in their own homes than in any other location 4.

REALITY: Non-consensual sex does not always leave visible injuries on the victim’s body. Victims are often scared of being killed or badly hurt by the perpetrator and so will often freeze, go limp or cooperate with their rapist in order to save their life. Doing what they could to survive a very traumatic and dangerous experience, does not mean that the victim was not raped. See Rape Crisis Scotland’s campaign I just froze

REALITY: Rape can happen to anyone of any age, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class or culture.

REALITY: If a victim is drunk or incapacitated by drugs, they are legally unable to consent to sex. Anyone who chooses to take advantage of someone who is drunk or incapacitated is guilty or rape or sexual assault. Choosing to drink or take drugs does not equal consenting to sex.

REALITY: No one ever asks to be raped, no matter what they are doing or wearing. Flirting, wearing whatever they like and having a good time does not mean that someone is consenting to sex.

REALITY: Reporting rape or sexual assault can be a traumatic experience involving hours and hours of detailed interviews, physical examinations and potentially a long court case. False allegations of rape are no more common than false allegations of any other crime – about 3%.

REALITY: Rape isn’t about sex, romance or desire. Many rapes are planned in advance and are premeditated. Forcing someone to have sex without their consent is all about power, control and domination not sex.

So, you don’t believe any of these rape myths – does it matter that other people do?

Yes! We believe that rape myths are really dangerous. They make us focus on the behaviour of the victims of sexual violence and excuse the criminal actions of the perpetrators. This worries us because it makes it much harder for survivors to come forward to report sexual violence and makes it much more difficult to convict sex offenders. We also think that rape myths are really unfair to girls and women (because they tell them that if they get raped, it’s their own fault) and to men and boys (because they assume that all males are potential rapist who are unable to control their sexual behaviour). We think we all deserve better.

Reframing the way we think about rape

The vast majority of sex offences are carried out by someone the victim already knows

Alcohol and drugs are useful tools for sex offenders

Rape is always the rapists fault

Anything less than a yes is a no

Sexual violence isn’t inevitable. We can stop it!

The vast majority of sex offences are carried out by someone the victim already knows

Sex offenders want easy access to a victim who trusts them and is unlikely to report any offences or be believed if they do. Sex offenders deliberately target partners, friends and acquaintances as there is less risk that they will be caught and punished. Let’s stop thinking that rape is something that is only carried out by strangers.

Alcohol and drugs are useful tools for sex offenders

They make it easier for them to gain their victim’s trust, reduce the chances of physical resistance and make it more likely that the victim won’t remember or report the offence to the police. By using alcohol and drugs, the sex offender is also less likely to be convicted by a jury. Let’s stop blaming victims who have taken alcohol or drugs and start thinking that sex offenders use alcohol and drugs to make it easier to get away with sexual violence.

Rape is always the rapists fault

Sex offenders know that society tend to focus on the behaviour and actions of the victim and what they should have done to avoid being assaulted. This means that we don’t focus on what the sex offender did and leads to victim blaming. Let’s recognise that rape is always the rapist’s choice and that they are always to blame.

Anything less than a yes is a no

People often think that consent is confusing and that the line between sex and rape can be blurry and unclear.

It’s actually really easy:
Anything less than an enthusiastic YES! is a no!

Useful links