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Myth: Rape is caused by lust or uncontrollable sexual urges and the need for sexual gratification.

Fact: Rape is an act of physical violence and domination that is not motivated by sexual gratification.

Myth: Once a man gets sexually aroused, he can't just stop.

Fact: Men do not physically need to have sex after becoming sexually excited. Moreover, they are still able to control themselves after becoming aroused.

Myth: Women often lie about rape or falsely accuse someone of rape.

Fact: Statistical studies indicate false reports make up two percent or less of the reported cases of sexual assault. This figure is approximately the same for other types of crimes. Only one out of 10 rapes are actually reported. Rapes by someone the victim knows are the least likely to be reported.

Myth: Women provoke sexual assault by their appearance. Sexual attractiveness is a primary reason why a rapist selects a victim.

Fact: Rapists do not select their victims by their appearance. They select victims who are vulnerable and accessible. Victims of sexual assault range in age groups from infants to the elderly. Sexual attractiveness is not an issue.

Myth: Sexual assault is a topic that only concerns women, and men do not have to be concerned about sexual assault.

Fact: According to recent rape crisis center statistics, men, both straight and gay, suffered 10 percent of the sexual assaults reported in the United States last year. In addition, men have wives, friends, sisters, mothers and daughters who may someday need assistance in coping with sexual assault. Rape is a concern for everyone.

Myth: If a woman really did not want to be raped, she could fight off her attacker.

Fact: Even if the rapist is not carrying a weapon, the element of surprise, shock and fear or the threat of harm can overpower a survivor.

Facts About Date Rape

Here are some data collected from a national study of college students:

  • One in four college women have either been raped or suffered attempted rape.
  • 84 percent of the women who are raped knew their assailants.
  • 57 percent of the rapes occurred on a date.
  • Women, ages 16-24, have four times higher risk of being raped than any other population group.
  • One in 12 male students surveyed had committed acts that met the legal definition of rape.
  • 16 percent of male students who had committed rape took part in episodes with more than one attacker's gang rape.
  • 75 percent of male students and 55 percent of female students involved in date rape had been drunk or using drugs.*
  • 33 percent of males surveyed said that they would commit rape if they could escape detection.**
  • 25 percent of men surveyed believed that rape was acceptable if the woman asks the man out,  the man pays for the date or the woman goes back to the man's room after the date. ***

* Koss, M.P. (1988). Hidden Rape: Incidence, Prevalence and descriptive Characteristics of Sexual Aggression and Victimization in a National Sample of College Students. In Burgers, A.W. (ed.) Sexual Assault. Vol II. New York: Garland Publishing Co.

** Malamuth, N.M. (1986). Predictors of Natural Sexual Aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 953-962.

*** Muehlenhard, C.L., Friedman, D.E. & Thomas, C.M. (1985). Is Date Rape Justifiable? Psychology of Women Quarterly, 9, 297-310

Facts About Sexual Assault
  • One out of four women is sexually assaulted at some point in her life.
  • One out of six men is sexually assaulted at some point in his life.
  • Every 15 seconds, a woman is beaten by her husband or boyfriend. (FBI Uniform Crime Report, 1991)
  • Two to four million women are abused every year. (American Medical Association)
  • 95 to 98 percent of victims of domestic violence are women. (Bureau of Statistics)
  • Approximately 25 percent of all women in the U.S. will be abused by current or former partners some time during their lives. (American Medical Association)
  • 82.8 percent of sexual assaults occur before the victim reaches the age of 25.
  • 78 percent of sexual assault victims were assaulted by someone they knew.
  • Up to 57 percent of rapes happened on a date.
  • More than 66 percent of sexual assault victims reported NO visible physical injuries.
  • More than 50 percent of victims and 70 percent of assailants had used drugs or alcohol prior to the assault.
  • Fewer than 20 percent of crimes of sexual violence are reported to the police.
  • Approximately 2 percent of acquaintance rapes are reported to the police.
  • Only 2 percent of reported sexual assaults have been determined to be false reports.
  • One in eight college women is the victim of rape during her college years. One in four is the victim of attempted rape.
  • 95 percent of these rape victims did not report the rape to officials.
  • 25 percent of women were raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, partner or date during their lifetime.
  • 84 percent of the women knew the men who raped them; 57 percent were on dates.

* Koss, Mary P., and C. Gedycz, and N. Wisniewski. "The Scope of Rape Incidence and Prevalence of Sexual Aggression and Victimization in a National Sample of Higher Education Students." Journal of Consulting and Clinical psychology. 55(1987), 162-70.

** Thoennes, Nancy, and Tjaden, Patricia. "Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings of the National Violence Against Women Survey." U.S. Department of Justice, November 1998.