Sexual violence is unfortunately a common occurrence in the United States and worldwide. Given the fact this is a global problem, one would think that we have a good understanding of the subject. However, there are many myths and misconceptions about sexual abuse and violence out there today. In order to protect victims and put an end to sexual violence, it is important that we are spreading truths, not myths. Unfortunately, myths about sexual assault often shift responsibility and blame from the assailant – where it should be – to the victim. By taking the time to understand the myths surrounding sexual assault, we will be more successful in helping victims recover and holding those responsible for these vicious acts accountable. Before we look at some of the myths about sexual assault, let’s go over a few of the most common scenarios where sexual abuse and assault take place:
- Medical patients abused by doctors, nurses, or other medical staff members
- Child abuse by priests or other religious institution figures of authority
- Children abused by leaders in community organizations
- Dependant adults abused in mental health facilities and nursing homes
- Sexual assault of young women in college settings
- Abuse of children by school employees
- Sexual violence in the workplace
- Domestic sexual abuse in dating or marital relationships
These are just a handful of examples of instances in which we see sexual abuse or violence occur. Keep in mind this list is far from exhaustive and that sexual abuse can happen in many other types of situations.
With that being said, here are a few of the most common myths surrounding sexual abuse or violence:
Myth: Rape is committed by strangers in dark alleys.
Fact: The majority of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows and at any time of the day or night. Furthermore, women are most commonly raped in their own homes.
Myth: Victims provoke sexual assaults by dressing provocatively or acting promiscuously.
Fact: Rape and other forms of sexual assault are crimes stemmed from violence and control that are typically connected to the abuser’s desire to exercise power over their victim. Provocative dress and certain types of behavior are NOT invitations for unwanted sexual activity.
Myth: Individuals who commit rape are mentally ill or psychotic and cannot control themselves.
Fact: In truth, the majority of rapes are planned out and committed by acquaintances, intimate partners, family members, or strangers, not psychotic members of society.
Myth: It is not considered sexual assault if it occurs after drinking or taking drugs.
Fact: Drinking or taking drugs is not an invitation for nonconsensual sexual activity or harassment. In fact, some perpetrators actually use alcohol or drugs as a means to control their victim or render them helpless.
Myth: When victims of sexual abuse say no, they really mean yes.
Fact: Yes means yes and no means no! Silence does not equal consent and no does not mean yes. It is absolutely imperative that consent is given when sexual activity is escalating. If someone says no or seems unsure, the other party should respect his or her wishes.
If you are the victim of sexual harassment, violence, or abuse of any kind, please contact Rad Law Firm today. Our Fort Worth sexual harassment lawyers are here for you and will help ensure justice is served and that the responsible party is held accountable for his or her actions.