Persistent myths about rape perpetuate the stigma of rape for victims and empower perpetrators. Cruel comments and insensitive reactions to news of a rape give false credibility to people believing things like: women enjoy being raped; women liked being raped; and she was raped and enjoyed it. In order to eliminate the stigma of rape and actually promote healing for rape victims, people must learn the facts and reject myths about rape.
Common Myths About Rape Debunked
Read some of the most common myths about rape and facts refuting the misconceptions below:
Myth: Lust and the need for sexual gratification controls rapists behaviors
Fact: Rape is never about sex or desire, but is completely motivated by a need for dominance, power, and control.
Myth: Women frequently falsely accuse innocent men of rape.
Fact: False reports comprise 2 percent or less of reported incidents of rape. The percentage is likely even lower than 2 percent because fewer than one in 10 sexual assaults actually get reported.
Myth: Women ask for rape if they dress provocatively or are overly good looking.
Fact: Rapists select victims by evaluating their accessibility and vulnerability. They don't take beauty or body fitness into account.
Myth: Most sexual assault perpetrators choose strangers for their victims.
Fact: Research data indicates that over 80 percent of rapists know their victims. (See: What is Date Rape, Acquaintance Rape?)
Myth: Women who get raped while drunk, out alone at night, or overly flirtatious got what was coming to them.
Fact: People who are drunk cannot consent to sex, making any sexual activity with them non-consensual and, thus, rape. Women who venture out alone at night or engage in the age-old practice of flirting do not deserve rape. The entire fault lies with the perpetrator.
Myth: Once a man gets aroused, he has lost the ability to stop himself from moving forward with sexual intercourse.
Fact: Studies show that sexual assaults are either wholly or partially planned in advance. Men can easily control their urge to have sex, even at the height of arousal. Rape has nothing to do with the desire or need for sexual intercourse.
Myth: Women usually get lubricated vaginally during rape and that means women love being raped.
Fact: Recent research conducted by Kelly Suschinsky and Martin Lalumiere, show proof that vaginal lubrication occurs during both consensual and unwanted sex, such as in sexual assault. The study shows that while an erection does indicate sexual arousal in men, sexual arousal in women requires a complex mix of intimate connection, physical stimuli, and emotional presence. Vaginal lubrication occurs during even violent sexual assaults as the body's defense against genital injury and urinary infection from forced, rough intercourse.
It's important for society to stop joking around about sexual assault and giving life to thoroughly and scientifically debunked myths about rape. Rape is no joke and careless commentary about the topic only adds to the torment suffered by victims. (See: Rape Law: What Are the Laws Against Rape?)