Sexual Assault

Myths & Facts About Rape

Myth: Rape is a sexual crime, impulsively committed for sexual gratification.
Fact: Rape is a crime of violence and aggression. It is intended to overpower, degrade, and humiliate the victim.

Myth: Rape does not happen very often.
Fact: Rape is the most frequently committed violent crime in the U.S.

Myth: Most rapes are committed by a stranger in a dark place at night.
Fact: The vast majority of rapes, up to 89%, are committed by men known by their victims—casual acquaintances, friends, boyfriends and husbands. Nearly half of all assaults occur in the victim’s home.

Myth: “It can’t happen to me.” Rape is an isolated, infrequent event that only happens to certain kinds of people.
Fact: Anyone can be sexually assaulted. Studies show that sexual assault happens to people of all ages, people of color, lesbians/gays, people with disabilities, and people of every racial, ethnic, religious, economic and social background.

Myth: Rape is the victim’s fault. The victim provokes rape by the way they dress, behave, or where they choose to go.
Fact: Rape is NEVER the victim’s fault. Studies show that 71% of convicted rapists planned their attacks. Rape is the only crime where the victim is consistently blamed. It is outrageous to believe that women “ask for” or “provoke” severe physical and emotional harm and risk of pregnancy, venereal disease and even death.

Myth: Rapists are sex-crazed “madmen”.
Fact: The overwhelming majority of rapists are ordinary men from the complete range of socio-economic classes, occupations and nationalities. They do not suffer from any psychological disturbance and are not the victims of “uncontrollable” sexual urges. All men can control their sexual urges if they wish to and no sexual urge ever gives a man the right to rape a woman or child. Most rapes are, in fact, premeditated and well-planned. They are not
spontaneous, uncontrollable sexual acts. 71% of convicted rapists stalked their victims.

Myth: When a woman or a man says “no” she\he means “yes” or “maybe”.
Fact: The fact is NO means NO, no matter who says it or what the situation may be.

Myth: Women report rapes to get even with men or to protect their reputation. Moreover, rape statistics are exaggerated.
Fact: Rape is the most under-reported crime. The FBI estimates that only 20% of rapes are reported. According to the FBI, fewer than 2% of reported rapes are false, which is the same percentage for false reporting of other crimes.

Myth: Men cannot be raped.
Fact: Men can be raped. One in Seven men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Males can be and are
raped, primarily by other males. The vast majority of reported sexual assaults of males occurs as cases of child molestation.

Myth: Men who are raped by other men are homosexual.
Fact: Regardless if it is a man raping a man or a woman raping a man, rape is still about power and aggression. Sexual preference has nothing to do with rape.

Myth: “Just the accusation of rape destroys men’s reputations.”
Fact: It is potentially devastating to be accused of a crime and it can have serious repercussions. However, men who are accused of rape are often supported, even transformed into heroes.

Myth: “Rape is a woman’s problem.”
Fact: It is a pervasive societal problem when half the population lives in terror of the other half. Every man has friends or family members who have been raped.

Source: South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (

Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000