Why are there so many rape myths?

There are a lot of myths surrounding rape and rape victims. This is part of the reason why so many survivors choose not to disclose or report what happened to them. So why do so many myths surround sexual violence victims?

MYTH: Men can't be raped and women can't be perpetrators.

This myth is very damaging. Men can and are raped. 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual assault or abuse in their lifetime.

MYTH: A lot of victims lie about being raped or give false reports.

Only 2-3% of rape allegations are false. This widely believed myth is one of the largest barriers to disclosure and reporting that survivors face.

MYTH: If someone is sexually abused during their childhood, they are likely to become an abuser themselves.

This harmful myth is as offensive as it is untrue, and can sometimes be used to try and justify/explain the behaviour of perpetrators.

MYTH: If someone had a physiological reaction (erection or orgasm) during an attack, that must mean that they enjoyed it.

Our bodies react to stimuli; someone who is ticklish may laugh when they are tickled but that does not mean they enjoyed it. Physiological reactions to rape

MYTH: If a victim of sexual assault does not fight back, they must have thought the assault was not that bad or they wanted it.

It is very common to hear about the 'flight or fight' response to danger, however many survivors experience immobility or a “freeze response” during an assault.

MYTH: Most rapists are not known to their victim.

In less than 9% of cases a perpetrator is a stranger to the victim. In 90% of cases the victim is known to their offender.