Today is the end of Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness month. This is obviously a topic we will touch on again over the next few months because it’s just too ‘big’ to leave alone. I thought we would leave off the month though, with some basic information about sexual assault in the hopes that more people can become better informed and not accidentally (or purposely) continue to spread misinformation about this issue.
Common Myths about Sexual Violence
The myths about sexual assault are passed on from generation to generation, by men and women, judges and lawyers, police, politicians and many others. It’s important we don’t carry the myths forward to the next generation.
Fact: Any person can be sexually assaulted regardless of age, race, class, religion, occupation, education, physical ability or physical attractiveness.
Myth: Sexual assault is primarily a sexual crime.
Fact: Sexual assault is a violent assault that is acted out, in part, sexually. Through psychological, verbal and physical abuse, sexual assault violates an individual’s personal integrity and their sense of safety and control over their life.
Fact: Most sexual assaults occur at home. More often than not the offender is a relative, friend, neighbour or acquaintance.
Myth: Sexual assault is a ‘spur of the moment’ act.
Fact: Most assaults are planned carefully in advance, and set up situations so the assault can take place.
Myth: Sexual assault happens when men lose their self-control.
Fact: Men who assault others know very well what they are doing. Sexual assault is an act of control.
Fact: Sexual assault has nothing to do with sexual frustration, and the availability of prostitutes is irrelevant. This is just another way of saying ‘men can’t help themselves’, and that it’s up to women to find the solution. No sexual urge gives a man the right to rape a woman.
Myth: If a woman’s had sex with the man once, it can hardly be called a sexual assault if it happens again.
Fact: It doesn’t matter if the man is the woman’s husband, partner or boyfriend, or whether she’s had sex with him in the past or not. If she is forced or pressured to have sex this time, it’s assault.
Myth: Women ‘ask for it’ by the way they dress or behave.
Fact: This is like saying that someone wants to be robbed because they have money in their wallet. Assailants look for targets they think they can hit, not women who dress or behave in a particular way. Nobody asks to be hurt or degraded.
Fact: While more women are sexually assaulted than men, males (children and adults) can be and are sexually assaulted.