Rape is forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object.
Sexual assault is unwanted sexual contact that does not include penetration. This includes sexual touching and fondling.
Rape/Sexual Assault occurs any time you are made to do something sexual that you do not want to do.
Consent is an ongoing conversation between participants discussing what you are or are not comfortable with.
Freely given: You are making a decision without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
Reversible: You can change your mind at any time, even if you have said yes to that activity before
Informed: Everyone knows exactly what is going to happen and fully understand
Ethusiastic: Look for a presence of a "yes," rather than the absence of a "no"
Specific: Saying "yes" to one thing does NOT mean you have said "yes" to other things, you need to get consent every step of the way
Common misconceptions about rape and sexual assault:
|The primary motive for sexual assault is sexual. People who commit sexual assault don’t have any other outlet for their sexual needs.
||The major motive for sexual assault is power—to overpower and control another person. Rape is not about sex. It is sexualized violence, not violent sex. The myth allows shifting the blame from offender to victim.
|The victim provokes sexual assault.
||Someone’s actions or dress cannot send a message “asking” for sexual assault. In fact, studies demonstrate that 71% of sexual assaults are planned in advance, making irrelevant the survivor’s demeanor, or apparel at the time of the sexual assault.
|Most sexual assault victims do not know their attacker.
||8 out 10 sexual assault are committed by someone known to the victim. 39% are committed by acquaintances, 33% are committed by a current or former partner or spouse, 6% are committed by more than one person or the victim cannot remember, 2.5% are committed by a relative, and 19.5% are committed by a stranger.
|A person can prevent a sexual assault if they really want to.
||Since nearly 90% of sexual assaults involve threats or use of physical harm, a person may submit to a sexual assault to prevent more severe bodily injury or death. Victims may experience "collapsed immobility," which is also known as the "faint response," the body goes limp and some people may even passout, or "tonic immobility," which is also known as "playing possum," the body becomes tense and someone in this state cannot move or speak. These responses to stressful/threatening situations are involuntary, so the victim has no control over how their body may respond.
|Sexual Offenders are always perverted degenerates.
||This myth is based on the assumption that only “sick” or “insane” people are offenders, and that certain people are offenders. Believing this myth may cause us to expect the offender to have certain "recognizable characteristics." Offenders can come from all different backgrounds.
|Most people lie about acquaintance rape because they have regrets about consensual sex.
||Sexual assault and other felonies have the same false report rate: 2-4%. Survivors who are aware that some people believe this myth may be afraid to report or tell anyone because they fear no one will believe them (TAASA, 2008).