Some of the Myths and Realities

I said I would be blogging about the YWCA Rape Crisis Center this week and so I will start with some of what they have written about the various lies and the corresponding truths around sexual violence.

“I’LL NEVER BE RAPED BECAUSE …I’m not attractive.  I’m too old.  I’m too young.  I dress conservatively.  I live in a good neighborhood.  I don’t associate with anyone capable of sexual assault.  I don’t go out late at night.  My husband will protect me.  I’m safe–I carry a gun, mace, a whistle, hat pin…I’m a good person.  Even if I were to get raped, Id get over it–it’s only sex.

MYTH

I don’t associate with anyone capable of sexual assault.

I don’t go to the type of places where women get raped.

I’m not attractive, I dress conservatively.  I’m too old/young.

I’m safe–I carry a gun.

Even if I were raped, I’d get over it–It’s only sex.

REALITIES

In over 60% of all cases, the assailant is an acquaintance of his victim.  The profile of a typical rapist cuts across all professional, racial and socio-economic boundaries.

Over 50% of rapes occur within the woman’s own home or the home of someone she knows and trusts.  Over 50% happen in the daytime.

Rape victims range in age from newborn to 98 years old.  Being fat, thin, plain, or beautiful has no bearing on whether a woman will be raped.

Police statistics show that when one member of a family owns a gun, muggers, rapists and burglars are the least likely to get hurt with it.  For every intruder shot, three friends or family members are shot.

Rape is not a crime of passion:  It is a crime of violence, in which sex is used as the weapon.  It is motivated by a need to exert power, dominance, and control by hurting, degrading, and humiliating another human being.  After being raped, many women express feeling afraid of men, less independent, afraid of being on their own, hostile to all men, and worthless or lessened self-respect.”

I would change the wording of this last paragraph to say that the genitals are the weapons.  Sex is only sex if it is consensual among two adults capable of consenting.  Other parts of the body may also be used.  The verbiage of how we talk about sexual violence is very important in order to eliminate confusion. 

A bit more from the YWCA Rape Crisis Center:

“There are many myths about the crime of rape, which affect the way the victim views herself and is treated by society.  It is, perhaps, the only crime of violence for which the victim feels responsibility and guilt.

One lingering myth, is that rape is a sexual crime, which the victim asked for and secretly enjoyed.  This is nonsense!  No matter what circumstances led up to the attack and subsequent rape, no one ever “asks” to be raped, or to suffer the accompanying degradation and long term emotional effects.  Further, profiles of convicted rapists show that the perpetrator usually experiences no enjoyment of the sex act, but only rapes as an expression of violence to degrade the victim.

Another myth is that the victim should never fight back against her attacker.  Every rape is different.  Fighting can be appropriate or foolish.  Submission may be the best course when the rapists is armed with a weapon.  However, the victim’s best defense is to maintain control of the situation, because the rapists, whether a sick or angry person, usually wants to overpower the victim both physically and psychologically.”

I love that “This is nonsense!” statement!  So very true!  Also, if  anyone of any age survives such an attack she/he did the right thing.  Rape is a brush with death.

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