Myths About Rape - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Myths About Rape

Rape Myths

Despite the prevalence of sexual assault in the United States, a number of misconceptions surround this crime and its victims. Some of the most common myths include:

  • Rape is a crime of passion. The notion that the rapist is controlled by overwhelming lust is far removed from the reality. Psychologists have found that the motivation behind sexual assault is most often the need to dominate and control, rather than the inability to control sexual urges. Rape is primarily an act of power and aggression, with the sexual aspects taking secondary role.
  • Women who are careful don't get raped. Rapes occur in a variety of places and situations during any hour of the day or night. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 35 percent of all rapes occur in or near a victim's home, and there are incidences of rape in offices, schools, and other work locations. While there are certain preventative measures women can take, even the most cautious women are not perfectly safe.
  • Rape is impossible if the woman really resists. Most victims resist sexual assault in some way, but the rapist usually has the advantage of surprise and strength. Physical force is used in 85 percent of all reported rapes, and 25 percent of victims are threatened or attacked with a dangerous weapon. In addition to the sexual attack, more than half who are physically assaulted, receive some injury. Such injury was more likely if the victim resisted.
  • Women secretly want to be raped. There is a difference between romantic fantasy and brutal, violent reality. There also is a difference between the fundamental right of choice in one's fantasy and the loss of control as a victim of sexual assault.
  • The rapist is usually a stranger. Expert opinions vary. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), a woman is twice as likely to be attacked by a stranger than by someone she knows. However, sexual assault by an acquaintance "date rape" is a serious and largely unreported occurrence. In a survey sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 6,159 college students at 32 schools nationwide were interviewed and reported that 84 percent of the victims of completed rapes knew the offender, most often (66 percent) as a date. Of these victims, 95 percent did not report the crime to the police. Similarly, the incidence of marital rape, as a form of domestic violence, goes largely unreported.
  • Women invite rape by dressing or acting seductively. There is little correlation between physical attractiveness and the likelihood of becoming a victim. To believe that a woman "deserves" to be raped is to say that a wealthy-looking man "deserves" to be robbed.
  • If rape is imminent, the woman should relax and enjoy it. This may be a fatal belief, according to interviews with murderers who sexually molested their victims. These offenders report that the victim's compliance or non-forceful resistance were not deterrents to the murder, with survivors being those who forcefully resisted. Even in sexual assaults without homicidal intent, it is unreasonable to expect a woman to enjoy involuntary participation in a violent, terrifying crime.
  • Women "cry rape." The reality is that sexual assault is perhaps one of the most under reported crimes in relation to its actual incidence. BJS found that only about half of the victims of rape or attempted rape surveyed between 1973 and 1982 reported the crime to the police. Various other surveys also found that a vast number of sexual assaults go unreported, with even higher percentages of victims not reporting. In general, victims of "classic" rape, i.e., violent attack by a stranger, are more likely to report the crime than women raped by men they know, at home or in social settings. Thus, the notion that "a woman scorned" will hurl false rape accusations, considering the tendency of victims not to report out of shame or despair, is unlikely to be true.
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