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Myths (lies) Focus on the Family Has Identified

“Myth #1:  Rape is an expression of intense sexual desire.

Rape is an expression of violence, not sexual desire.  It is motivated by the need to dominate, control, and degrade the victim.  This act of aggression is often triggered by feelings of anger or violence.  Some rapists punish their victims out of a need to release pent-up anger or frustration.  Others have deep feelings of inadequacy that are relieved by their ability to control and dominate anther person.  This display of aggression is due to low self-concept, doubts about masculinity, feelings of social distance or general unhappiness.  In reality, many rapists state that during the rape they felt no sense of sexual stimulation or arousal.

Myth #2:  Rape always occurs spontaneously.

The act of rape is almost always carefully premeditated and executed.  In the majority of cases, the rapists acquaint themselves with their intended victims before they actually attack.  Rapes committed by men who are known to the victim may account for as much as 74 percent of all rapes.  Rapes are not committed by lonely men looking for affection and temporary closeness.  And because they are planned, rape almost always includes the use of force or threat of harm and often the use of deadly weapons.

The victim of date or acquaintance rape commonly experiences extreme guilt, as she feels her behavior somehow contributed to the rape.  Often victims feel partially responsible for the assault because they trusted the assailant or dressed seductively.  She may hesitate to report the incident if there are a number of mutual friends because of embarrassment or shame over potential public exposure and the resulting stigma.

Myth #3:  Some women secretly desire or invite rape.

The act of rape is a horrifying and life-threatening experience.  No woman wants to be used against her will.  And when rape occurs, the victim’s sense of self, as well as her body, penetrated and used without consent.  In the same category as homicide, rape is the most profound violation of a person’s body.  It deprives the victim of both physical and emotional privacy and autonomy.

Myth #4:  Some women deserve to be raped.

In actuality, physical appearance or actions have little to do with who gets raped.  Infants, elderly women and females of all incomes and living arrangements can be raped.  No one deserves to be raped.  This thinking shifts the blame from the attacker to the victim, faulting her for her dress, behavior, or whereabouts.  Victims of non-sexual assault are not subjected to such attitudes, and neither should rape victims.

Myth #5:  A woman is raped because “she asked for it” by being careless.

A woman who goes out alone or after dark is not “asking” to be raped.  Everyone should take precautions to avoid being victimized.  However, some women are raped in their own home.  Open areas in daylight or automobiles are also common places for rapes to occur.  No woman is responsible for the behavior of a rapists merely because she happens to be in a particular place at a given time or with a certain person.

Myth # 6:  All rapists are big, mean and tough.

There are no obvious features that would make a rapist stand out in a crowd.  It could be your neighbor, a repairman or a door-to-door salesman.  Rapists may be nicely dressed, masquerade in disguises (including a policeman’s uniform) or pose as a woman.”

Again, the above list is from Focus on the Family. 

Any of you out there may think of others.  Please add them to the list!

I will provide some updated statistics from George Mason Unitversity on my next blog.

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