Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact ranging from exposure to rape in order to humiliate or degrade another person. Common myths about sexual assault include:
Myth: Sexual Assault is just about sex.
Fact: Sexual Assault is about power and control. A perpetrator is not motivated by overwhelming sexual desire for someone. "Assaults are primarily out of anger and/or a need to feel powerful by controlling, dominating, or humiliating the victim". (WCASA Information Sheet Services #1SSa)
Myth: What a victim is wearing may be the cause of the assault.
Fact: Regardless of what someone wears, be it skimpy and sexy, this does not excuse a sexual assault. We all have the right to express ourselves anyway we choose without having to be blamed with motivating an attack.
Myth: If a guy buys you dinner, spends any money on you, then you owe them sex.
Fact: You have a right to decide when, where, and with whom you want to have sex. If someone spends money on you, it doesn't mean you owe them anything in return.
Myth: Having sex with someone when they are incredibly drunk is not rape. Women who get intoxicated are "asking for it".
Fact: "Alcohol is the number one substance used to facilitate rape." (LeBeau, M., et al. Recommendations for Toxicological Investigations of Drug Facilitated Sexual Assaults. Journal of Forensic Science. 1999.) Drinking alcohol lowers our inhibitions, which means we are more likely to do things while drinking that we may not do when we are sober. Whether someone has been drinking, flirting, or kissing someone, it doesn't mean consent to have sex with them. In Wisconsin, alcohol now is legally considered a date rape drug. If it's not sober consent, it's not legal consent.
Myth: False allegations about sexual assault are common, usually because people are embarrassed or regretful
Fact: 2% of all of the accusations of sexual assault reported to law enforcement turn out to be false, the same rate as other types of violent crime. (Reno, J., Marcus, D., Leary, M., Turman, K., First Response to Victims of Crime. Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice. May 2000.)
Myth: Men can't be raped.
Fact: In our society, men are often stereotyped as always in control and constantly desiring sex. These stereotypes lead many men to not come forward with their assault for fear of being ridiculed and disbelieved. Since sexual assault is about power and control, men of all ages, races, and sexual orientations are sexually assaulted.